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Coal miners' union to endorse Manchin

Coal miners' union to endorse Manchin
© Greg Nash

A top coal miners' union is set to endorse Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinGillibrand backs Manchin, Bredesen despite their support of Kavanaugh Senate heads home to campaign after deal on Trump nominees Overnight Energy: Climate skeptic confirmed as DOJ environmental lawyer | EPA to phase out air pollution panel | Ad campaign targets mercury rule proposal MORE (D-W.Va.) ahead of the 2018 midterm races in November, according to Reuters

Sources told the outlet that the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) will announce their support for Manchin and Democrat Richard Ojeda, who is running for Congress in the state's 3rd District. 

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The union also threw its support behind Democrat Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania's special House election last week, which Lamb won by 668 votes as of Monday.

UMWA President Cecil Roberts told Reuters that the union backed Lamb because of his efforts to protect miners' pensions.

Manchin's Republican opponent in November could be former coal mining executive Don Blankenship, who is running for the GOP nomination and is surging in the polls.

Blankenship spent a year in prison for working to violate safety standards at the Upper Big Branch mine, where 29 miners were killed in 2010.  

Coal miners are are powerful constituency in West Virginia, a state that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: 'I don't trust everybody in the White House' JPMorgan CEO withdraws from Saudi conference Trump defends family separations at border MORE won by a large margin in 2016.

Trump campaigned on lifting various regulations on the industry and bringing coal jobs and has taken action in office to boost the industry.

The president last year signed legislation to undue the Obama-era Office of Surface Mining's Stream Protection Rule, which was a regulation to protect waterways from coal mining waste.

The coal industry has lost 40 percent of its workforce in less than 10 years, according to Reuters.