CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Former coal executive Don Blankenship, a year since running for U.S. Senate, is officially a presidential candidate.
Blankenship filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Elections Commission on Thursday. Blankenship, whose committee is based in Williamson, is running for the Constitution Party’s nomination.
Blankenship’s first statement as a presidential candidate criticized both major parties, citing the U.S. House of Representatives’ vote furthering the impeachment inquiry. All but two Democrats supported the resolution on Thursday, while all Republicans voted against the measure.
“Political Party leaders keep their members in line and control their votes by controlling funding for their future campaigns. They do this through Party PACs such as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee,” the former Massey Energy CEO said.
“The result is that the only opinion that matters is the opinion of the Democrat and Republican Parties’ Leaders.”
Blankenship ran for U.S. Senate last year, finishing third in the Republican primary before attempting to get on the ballot as a candidate for the Constitution Party.
Blankenship was released from prison in May 2017 after serving a year sentence for violating federal mine safety standards in light of the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion. Twenty-nine miners died in the 2010 incident.
Blankenship filed to run for office in January 2018.
As a candidate, he repeatedly attacked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. — coining the nickname “Cocaine Mitch” in the process — and used the term “Chinaperson” to describe the father of McConnell’s wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
The state blocked Blankenship’s second attempt to be in the general election, citing the “sore loser” law preventing people who lost in primaries from running in the general election.
Blankenship is currently suing Donald Trump Jr., who encouraged voters to opposed Blankenship ahead of the May 2018 GOP primary and also called Blankenship a felon.