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 PelosiKlobuchar shuts down idea a woman can't beat Trump: 'Pelosi does it every day' Budowsky: Trump destroying GOP in 2018, '19, '20 On The Money: Senate scraps plan to force second shutdown vote | Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny | McConnell rips House Dems for holding up trade deal MORE and Republican Leader Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseChris Wallace: Trump testifying 'would be akin to Prince Andrew testifying about his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein' Fox's Neil Cavuto rips into Trump over attacks on Chris Wallace's impeachment coverage This week: Round 2 of House impeachment inquiry hearings 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) ManchinPolitical purity tests are for losers Former coal exec Don Blankenship launches third-party presidential bid Centrist Democrats seize on state election wins to rail against Warren's agenda 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 McConnellOvernight Health Care: Fireworks on health care expected at Dem debate | Trump FDA pick dodges on vaping ban | Trump to host meeting on youth vaping Friday | AMA calls for immediate vaping ban GOP senator blocks vote on House-passed Violence Against Women Act On The Money: Senate scraps plan to force second shutdown vote | Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny | McConnell rips House Dems for holding up trade deal 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.