If former coal magnate Don Blankenship gets his way, his name might wind up on the West Virginia Senate ballot in November as a candidate for the Constitution Party.
The failed GOP primary candidate, who was defeated by State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey on May 8, claims he gathered at least 7,000 signatures on his petition drive to have his name added to the midterm ticket. Less than two weeks after his loss, Blankenship accepted the Constitution Party nomination.
“We have submitted more than the required petition signatures to the secretary of state,” Blankenship told the Journal in a recent email.
If allowed on the ballot, Blankenship would be competing against Morrisey and incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin (D).
What did the Office of the Secretary of State say?
The Office of the Secretary of State told the Journal that Blankenship officially changed his party affiliation, but added that the office must receive all of the potential candidate's paperwork before a ruling can be determined.
“Until we have paperwork, there is no action [on his candidacy] that we can take,” secretary of state field representative Darrell Shull said. “If he submits nomination and candidacy papers, then we would have to make a decision whether to validate or invalidate his candidacy.
His deadline to file is Aug. 1.
What about the sour grapes law?
West Virginia has a sour grapes law that might prevent Blankenship from running in the midterms.
"Candidates affiliated with a recognized political party who run for election in a primary election and who lose the nomination cannot change her or his voter registration to a minor party organization/unaffiliated candidate to take advantage of the later filing deadlines and have their name on the subsequent general election ballot,” according to West Virginia election laws.
Blankenship said in a press release in May that "his personal views and the views of the majority of West Virginians are significantly aligned with the Constitution Party’s Platform."
“I hold in the highest regard the founding principles of the United States Constitution and I am willing to fight to protect both West Virginia and America from all enemies—foreign and domestic," he continued.
Blankenship spent a year in prison on charges related to a coal mine explosion that killed 29 people in 2010.