West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner (R) has denied Don Blankenship's bid to re-enter the Senate race as a Constitution Party candidate, according to a news release.
Warner announced his decision in a release Thursday, citing the state's "sour grapes law."
"According to the plain language of the law, which controls my decision, a candidate who loses the Primary Election cannot use the nomination-certificate process to run another campaign in the General Election. Any other decision would be contrary to the law," Warner said in the release.
Earlier this week, Blankenship filed his certificate of candidacy in person Tuesday after gathering 7,000 signatures in his petition drive, as required by law to have his name added to the ballot.
The secretary of state said Blankenship was notified of the decision Thursday morning.
What's the story?
Blankenship, who's been surrounded by controversy, lost in the GOP primary to state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in May.
Shortly after his defeat, he accepted the Constitution Party nomination.
Last week, the former Massey CEO and ex-con announced he had enough signatures to re-enter the race.
In 2016, a federal judge sentenced the former Massey CEO to a year in prison for conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards related to the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion in 2010 that left 29 miners dead. He was released from prison in May 2017 after serving 12 months.
Blankenship has called the sour grapes law unconstitutional and is expected to appeal Warner's decision, according to a statement.
"We will be filing a COURT claim next week that the “sore loser” law the ESTABLISHMENT is relying on is unconstitutional. We are confident, that absent yet another political court decision, the denial of my certificate of announcement will be overturned," he said in the statement.
Morrisey and Democratic incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin will meet in the November midterms.
The Cook Political Report has rated the race a toss-up.