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West Virginia Supreme Court blocks Blankenship from Senate ballot

West Virginia Supreme Court blocks Blankenship from Senate ballot
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Ex-coal CEO Don Blankenship’s bid to appear on the November ballot in West Virginia's Senate race as a third-party candidate was denied Wednesday by the state’s Supreme Court.  

“The West Virginia Secretary of State is ordered to take whatever measures are necessary to ensure that Donald L. Blankenship does not appear on the 2018 General Election Ballot for the Office of United States Senator for the State of West Virginia,” the court wrote in its order.

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Blankenship’s lawyers filed a petition earlier this month to the state Supreme Court challenging West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner's decision to block him from running as the Constitution Party’s candidate.

In a statement following the court's order, Blankenship said he was reviewing his options.

"For those who believe in democracy, it is a frightening decision," Blankenship wrote. "Essentially, the Republican Party can now slander a candidate throughout the Primary, effectively denying that candidate an equal opportunity to win the nomination, and simultaneously pass a law in the middle of an election cycle which prohibits the slandered person from being on the General election ballot."

"My attorneys and I will be evaluating our next steps and we will keep you posted," he continued. "We can only hope that someday the movement toward a politician-controlled electoral process reverses course. The Court’s decision is good for my family and for me personally."

Blankenship lost the GOP primary in May to Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and has since sought to appear on the ballot as a third-party candidate.

Morrisey, in a statement following the court's order, said, "No more distractions to hide lying liberal Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinMajor unions back Fudge for Agriculture secretary Voters split on eliminating the filibuster: poll OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight MORE’s record of supporting pro-abortion policies, gun control, and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonIntercept DC bureau chief says Biden picks are 'same people' from Obama years The Hill's 12:30 Report - Third vaccine candidate with 90% efficacy Biden won — so why did Trump's popularity hit its highest point ever? MORE’s campaign against coal miners."

Warner rejected Blankenship’s bid in July to appear as the Constitution Party’s candidate, arguing that West Virginia’s “sore loser” law prevented him from being able to do so. Blankenship argued that Warner was misrepresenting the state’s code that defines who can appear on the ballot.

Had Blankenship succeeded in making it on the November ballot, he would have created a number of headaches for national Republicans. The party was concerned that his past, which includes a stint in prison and a coal mine explosion that killed 29 people, would hurt the GOP’s efforts to defeat incumbent West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D).

Manchin, in the period from May 10 through July 16, had a 7-point lead over Morrisey, according to the RealClearPolitics average of recent polling.

-- Updated at 6:00 p.m.