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Former coal exec Don Blankenship files for third-party presidential bid

Former coal exec Don Blankenship files for third-party presidential bid
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Former coal executive and federal prisoner Don Blankenship filed paperwork on Thursday to launch a third-party White House bid.

Blankenship, who also unsuccessfully ran for the Senate in West Virginia last year, filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission announcing he would be a presidential candidate for the Constitution Party.

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The former coal baron released a statement Thursday blasting the two-party system, saying Thursday’s impeachment vote, which was almost entirely along party lines, is evidence Democrats and Republicans “seek to damage each other versus doing what is best for America.”

“The Party line vote makes clear that the House Members are 'not thinking for themselves' nor ‘about our country,’ Blankenship said. “Instead Members of Congress vote as if they were a heard of sheep with Democrat Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden to meet with 6 GOP senators next week Five takeaways on a surprisingly poor jobs report On The Money: Weekly jobless claims fall to 498K, hitting new post-lockdown low | House to advance appropriations bills in June, July MORE and Republican Leader Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseCheney GOP conference deputy has complained about 'coronation' of Stefanik: report Loyalty trumps policy in Stefanik's rise, Cheney's fall Likely Cheney successor appears on Bannon show to tout GOP unity MORE barking at their heels like Border Collies.”

After finishing third in the 2018 West Virginia Senate primary, Blankenship sought to run against Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Upbeat jobs data, relaxed COVID-19 restrictions offer rosier US picture Manchin on collision course with Warren, Sanders Manchin touts rating as 'most bipartisan senator' MORE (D-W.Va.) on the Constitution Party ticket. However, his bid was blocked by the West Virginia secretary of State over the state’s “sore loser” law barring major-party primary candidates who lose from switching to a minor party.

Blankenship’s Senate bid raised eyebrows across the nation last year with a series of controversial statements, dubbing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden to meet with 6 GOP senators next week GOP is consumed by Trump conspiracy theories The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Upbeat jobs data, relaxed COVID-19 restrictions offer rosier US picture MORE (R-Ky.) as “Cocaine Mitch” and saying the Kentucky Republican faced conflicts of interest because his father-in-law is a “wealthy Chinaperson.” 

Blankenship also spent a year in federal prison for willfully conspiring to violate mine safety standards while he was at the helm of Massey Energy, which owned a West Virginia mine where 29 workers were killed in a 2010 explosion.