Hell or High Water, Blankenship Says He'll Be on Ballot

Intends to run for US Senate in November as Constitution Party candidate
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2018 9:40 AM CDT
Hell or High Water, Blankenship Says He'll Be on Ballot
Don Blankenship speaks to supporters in Charleston, W. Va., on May 8, 2018.   (AP Photo/Tyler Evert)

Don Blankenship's political career isn't going gently into that good night. Though Politico reports he finished "a distant" third in West Virginia's Republican primary for US Senate—state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey secured the nomination—he still plans to vie for the seat and says he will run in November as the Constitution Party candidate. But whether he legally can do so is questionable. The state in March passed a bill that made its so-called "sore loser" law clear: It stipulates that candidates who try and fail to secure the nomination of a recognized political party during a primary cannot then switch to a "minor party organization/unaffiliated candidate" in order to get his or her name on the ballot.

But it doesn't go into effect until June, and legal experts tell the Charleston Gazette-Mail that the code's current wording could leave the door open to a legal challenge. It refers to "candidates who are not already candidates in the primary election for public office." As one expert explains, there's a tense problem there: Blankenship was a candidate, not is a candidate. Blankenship on Monday indicated he's up for a legal fight, saying, "Although the establishment will likely begin their efforts against us by mounting a legal challenge to my candidacy, we are confident that—if challenged—our legal position will prevail, absent a politically motivated decision by the courts." Should he succeed, the Hill predicts he could seriously imperil Morrisey's chances of taking the seat from Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin by siphoning votes away from him—which could have bigger implications. (More Don Blankenship stories.)

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