Secretary of state denies Blankenship US Senate filing

July 27, 2018

CHARLESTON — T he West Virginia secretary of state denied Don Blankenship’s filing to run for U.S. Senate on Thursday as a member of the Constitution Party, teeing up a battle likely to be settled by a judge.

Blankenship, the former Massey Energy CEO who finished third in the Republican Senate primary, disaffiliated from the party after the May election and clinched the Constitution Party’s nomination.

However, Secretary of State Mac Warner and his office maintains the state’s “sour grapes” law prevents a candidate who loses in a primary with a ballot-qualified (Democrat, Republican, Mountain or Libertarian) party from running in a general with a non-ballot-qualified party such as the Constitution Party.

Greg Thomas, a spokesman for Blankenship, said in a text message the campaign plans to challenge Warner’s finding in court. He said they did not plan to file anything Thursday, and he did not yet know if they would start in Kanawha County Circuit Court or in federal court.

Blankenship’s campaign submitted 11,468 signatures to support his play for the ballot, of which Warner estimated about 7,100 are presumed to be valid.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who won the Republican nomination, recused himself from representing Warner. Instead, he retained Marc Williams of Nelson, Mullins, Riley and Scarborough for representation.

Morrisey is running against incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., in the November general election.

Reach Jake Zuckerman at jake.zuckerman@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-4814 or follow @jake_zuckerman on Twitter.