West Virginia coal baron and former prisoner Don Blankenship announced on Monday that he plans to launch a long-shot third-party Senate bid after finishing a distant third in this month’s Republican primary.
Blankenship said he would run in the general election as the Constitution Party nominee. But he would need to overcome a “sore loser” law in West Virginia that prevents failed candidates in a main-party primary from refiling to run in the general election under another party’s banner.
Blankenship said he’s prepared to challenge that law in court if needed. If he’s successful, his move that could hurt the GOP’s prospects of unseating Democratic incumbent Joe Manchin in November.
Should he follow through on his threat, Blankenship, who spent a year behind bars following the 2010 explosion at his Upper Big Branch Mine that killed 29 workers, could play spoiler in the general election by drawing votes from the GOP nominee, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.