Former convict and coal CEO Don Blankenship plans to run as the Constitution Party nominee for the West Virginia senate. He will have to challenge the state’s “sore loser” law, which “prevents failed candidates in a main-party primary from refiling to run in the general election under another party’s banner.”

If Blankenship successfully runs as a third-party candidate, the GOP might be in for a bit of a challenge especially as they have a real chance to unseat incumbent Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin.

From Politico:

Under West Virginia law, minor party candidates have until Aug. 1 to file the necessary number of signatures to qualify for the ballot. Still, it is unclear whether Blankenship is eligible.

A guide book for 2018 candidates posted on the West Virginia secretary of state’s website states: “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.”

Blankenship, who spent millions out of his own pockets to fund his Senate campaign, hinted that he was ready for a legal fight.

“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,” he said.

Blankenship lost the primary to Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. I wrote earlier this month that Manchin probably would’ve preferred ro run against Blankenship because it would have placed the GOP in another tough spot similar to the Moore fiasco in Alabama.

While Morrisey is better than Blankenship, he was not viewed as the strongest candidate. That designation belongs to Republican Rep. Evan Jenkins, which is why a Democratic super PAC spent a lot of money running ads against him. The Democrats feel that Morrisey won’t be too tough to beat due to his past health-care lobbying “in a state that has suffered greatly from the opioid epidemic.”

If Blankenship finds his way on the ballot it’s tough to say if he will have any meaningful impact on the race. President Donald Trump won the state with 67.9% of the votes and the governorship recently flipped from Democrat to Republican.

Morrisey won the primary with 34.9% of the votes while Blankenship came in third with 19.9%.

[Featured image via YouTube]