CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A petition drive has started to place convicted former coal executive Don Blankenship on the West Virginia general election ballot in the U.S. Senate race as the Constitution Party's nominee.
Blankenship's campaign announced the petition drive Wednesday.
To get him on the ballot, at least 4,537 signatures must be collected and submitted to the secretary of state by Aug. 1.
Blankenship finished a distant third in the Republican primary on May 8. He wants to join Republican nominee Patrick Morrisey and incumbent Democratic Sen. Manchin on the ballot in November.
A former Massey Energy CEO, Blankenship spent a year in federal prison for violating safety regulations in a 2010 mine explosion that killed 29 miners.
Blankenship's official statement about the petition drive can be found below:
The Don Blankenship for U.S. Senate campaign has officially started it’s petition drive to gain ballot access for the 2018 general election in West Virginia as the nominee for the Constitution Party.
Cabell and Kanawha County Clerks have already approved the Official Credentials form that provides authorization to solicit petition signatures for minor party candidates. Official requests for the credentials have been sent to all fifty-five county clerks. The Secretary of State’s office is aware of the county clerk petition approvals and has not objected to our campaign starting the process of gaining ballot access.
After obtaining the required number of signatures, the Don Blankenship for U.S. Senate campaign will submit the rest of the required paperwork to gain ballot access for the 2018 general election.
Don Blankenship said, “The establishment politicians will do everything they can to stop our campaign from moving forward. But we are determined to drain the swamp and to fight federal government corruption at all levels. We will create jobs for West Virginia families and end the drug epidemic in our state. We will always put America and America people first and we will demand a balanced federal budget.”