LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship said Thursday a run for U.S. Senate was “a possibility.”
Blankenship was a guest on 580 Live with Charleston Mayor Danny Jones on MetroNews affiliate 580 WCHS in Charleston. When asked if he would be a candidate Blankenship said he’s considering it.
“It’s always a possibility but more than anything I’m just still trying to figure out how to get the truth out about UBB and of course I do have a lot of love and interest in West Virginia–when you see we’re still 50th after all of these years–it doesn’t seem like we are ever going to get off the floor. It does cause one to stop and think if he can make a difference or not,” Blankenship, speaking from his home in Las Vegas, said.
The “possible” run would come as either a Republican or independent, Blankenship said.
“If I could get some momentum, some help, I might have a chance at winning a Republican primary, particularly. I assume (U.S. Senator) Joe Manchin would love to see me get in the race because he would probably think I would be more easily beatable than the others,” Blankenship said.
Blankenship was released from prison earlier this year after serving less than a year following a misdemeanor in connection with a conspiracy to break mine safety laws. Blankenship was running Massey when a 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in Raleigh County claimed the lives of 29 coal miners. He continues to maintain the blast was caused by inundation of natural gas and blames the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration for air flow reductions at the mine in the days leading up to the explosion. Other investigations concluded it was coal dust and methane that fueled the blast caused by a spark as a machine was cutting coal.
Blankenship said Thursday he hasn’t made a final call on a Senate bid.
“I haven’t decided what I want to do. I’m not a politician, as you know. I’m not a great speaker and so forth that politicians need to be good at. I do think I could help West Virginia, quite easily, move up from 50th,” Blankenship said.