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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 PelosiTrump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo On The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless benefits Overnight Health Care: CDC expands definition of 'close contact' after COVID-19 report | GOP coronavirus bill blocked in Senate | OxyContin maker agrees to B settlement with Trump administration MORE and Republican Leader Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseMcCarthy faces pushback from anxious Republicans over interview comments Jordan vows to back McCarthy as leader even if House loses more GOP seats Cedric Richmond's next move: 'Sky's the limit' if Biden wins 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 ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSusan Collins and the American legacy Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein Push to expand Supreme Court faces Democratic buzzsaw 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 McConnellOn The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless benefits Trump casts doubt on hopes for quick stimulus deal after aides expressed optimism Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid 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.