After West Virginia voters resoundingly rejected him in this month’s Republican primary, coal baron and virulent racist Don Blankenship said Monday that he plans to launch a third party run for the Senate.
Blankenship, who served a year behind bars for charges stemming from the explosion at his mine that killed 29, said he now plans to run in the general election as the Constitution Party nominee, Politico reported.
“It is especially appropriate for me to be nominated by the Constitution Party given its staunch and uncompromising commitment to upholding the United States Constitution,” Blankenship said.
In order to do so, he would have to overcome the state’s “sore loser” law, designed to prevent candidates who failed to secure a major party’s nomination from refiling to run with another party.
And Blankenship, who spent millions of his own money on his distant third-place finish in the GOP primary, indicated he’s ready for a legal battle—which would prolong the Republicans’ nightmare and hurt their chances of unseating Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, one of their top targets in 2018. Some experts told the Charleston Gazette-Mail that, though a legal challenge would be tricky, it would not be insurmountable.
As Politico reported:
Since the primary, the Republican Party has moved to prevent Blankenship from waging a drawn-out battle that could damage Morrisey’s prospects. President Donald Trump, hoping to smooth over any residual hurt feelings, phoned Blankenship the day after the nomination was settled to congratulate him on his campaign.
Blankenship has said he believes the president played a key role in his defeat. On the day before the primary, Trump sent out a tweet pleading for West Virginia Republicans to reject Blankenship.
Let the Republican sideshow go on forever, I say! Hopefully, if Blankenship makes good on his promise to run for a third party—and the courts are sympathetic—we’ll get more bizarre art like his now-infamous “Cocaine Mitch” ad.