WILLIAMSON, W.Va. — More than a month after he said on Facebook he will run for U.S. Senate, former coal miner Bo Copley announced Monday in Mingo County he will challenge Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., in 2018.

Copley, who gained national attention following a May 2016 forum with then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, is running for the Republican Party’s nomination.

“Our so-called leaders are looking solely for positions of stature and power,” he said. “Their greed has caused them to lose sight of a fundamental truth of a republican government, which is that they are in Washington to serve the people, and not their own political and financial interests.”

Copley, 40, spoke at the Mountaineer Hotel in Williamson.

He was laid off in September 2015 from Arch Coal after 11 years with the company.

Copley confronted Clinton during a CNN town hall regarding a statement she made months prior.

“I’m the only candidate which has a policy about how to bring economic opportunity using clean renewable energy as the key into coal country,” Clinton said. “Because we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.

“And we’re going to make it clear that we don’t want to forgot those people.”

Clinton apologized to Copley, adding she misspoke.

Jeff Jenkins/WVMetroNews.com

Bo Copley, center, speaking to then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in May 2016.

Copley mentioned Clinton multiple times in his speech, tying her to Manchin, who endorsed her presidential campaign.

“It is evident that Hillary’s senator has lost touch with his own state and its people,” Copley said. “For too long, West Virginia has been represented by career politicians who have made promises on the campaign trail, which they have been unable to keep.”

Copley also tied his campaign to the election of President Donald Trump, who won West Virginia by 42 percentage points.

“You cannot ‘drain the swamp’ within the beltway,” Copley said. “The swamp can only be drained by you, the voters. Therefore, draining the swamp begins in West Virginia.”

Copley’s platform includes limiting government regulation, protecting the Second Amendment and promoting legislation to combat the state’s drug addiction problem.

“A vote for me, Bo Copley, is a vote against the Clinton-Pelosi-Manchin machine,” Copley concluded.

Copley is one of two people currently running for the Republican nomination; U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., announced his campaign May 8. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said June 6 his decision regarding a possible bid will be made at a later date.

Manchin is also facing a challenger within the Democratic Party; activist Paula Jean Swearengin announced May 9 she will run against Manchin for the party’s nomination. She was canvassing in Charleston on Saturday.

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