Ex-Coal Boss Blankenship Files for White House Run
November 4, 2019 - Former coal company chairman and CEO Don Blankenship, who spent a year in a federal prison over safety violations after 29 workers died in an explosion at Massey Energy Co.'s West Virginia mine in 2010, has filed paperwork to seek the U.S. presidency in 2020 as a third-party candidate.
Blankenship will seek the nomination of the Constitution Party when it convenes next spring, Ballot Access News reported last week. He reportedly disclosed his plans in October at the party’s national committee meeting in Pittsburgh.
The 69-year-old Kentucky native has long been a Republican, but The Intelligencer in Charleston, West Virginia, notes he was registered as a Democrat in May – likely in hopes of challenging U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, Democrat-West Virginia, who was thought at the time to be considering a run for governor.
Blankenship had previously run as a Republican for a U.S. Senate seat in West Virginia, but after losing in the GOP primary he was blocked from representing the Constitution Party in the general election under the state’s “Sore Loser Law,” which prevents candidates from switching parties to get on a general election ballot after losing a primary.
The coal executive later blamed his GOP defeat in part on Donald Trump Jr., who reported incorrectly called Blankenship an “ex-felon,” prompting Blankenship to sue the president’s son. A trial date has been set for October 2020, The Intelligencer reported.