In May, former convict and coal CEO Don Blankenship announced his intention to run as a Constitution Party nominee for the West Virginia senate seat after he lost the GOP primary despite the state’s sore loser law.

Blankenship boasted on Monday that he has the signatures needed to file papers to get around the law.

From The Parkersburg News and Sentinel:

It is still not clear whether Blankenship’s proposed candidacy change violates West Virginia’s “sore loser” law that restricts a candidate from accepting a political party’s nomination after having already lost in a primary.

According to a guide book listed on the West Virginia Secretary of State website, “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.”

A spokesman for the Office of the Secretary of State said the office cannot rule on Blankenship’s candidacy until he files all the necessary nomination and candidacy paperwork, including more than 6,000 signatures. He has until Aug.1 to file.

Blankenship released this odd media advisory on Monday. He admits that the state will more than likely not certify him, yet plans to have a place on the ballot in November.

Blankenship came in third in the GOP primary so who knows how much his presence on the ballot will affect Republican candidate Patrick Morrisey, the state’s attorney general.

The Republicans want to flip West Virginia and felt they had a chance to unseat incumbent Democrat Joe Manchin, who is one of the more conservative Democrats in the chamber. President Donald Trump won the state with 67.9% of the votes and the governorship recently flipped from Democrat to Republican.

To make matters worse, a group aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decided to cancel $750,000 worth of ads targeting Manchin. There’s not much recent polling, but a Monmouth University poll last month showed Manchin at 48% while Morrisey, sat at 39%. From CNN:

Another 4% back ex-con coal baron Don Blankenship, who lost the GOP primary in May and is now trying to run as the Constitution Party candidate. His bid is in question, however, because of West Virginia’s “sore loser” law.

Manchin holds a 49% to 42% lead over Morrisey without Blankenship in the race.
The incumbent Democrat maintains a similar lead over Morrisey when Monmouth uses different models to reflect historical midterm turnout and one with a Democratic surge.

Manchin’s lead comes even as the President remains widely popular in West Virginia, with 67% of voters in the state approving of his job performance compared with 29% who disapprove.

RealClearPolitics has the race as Lean Democrat. The Cook Political Report has it as a Toss-Up.

Other data may influence the Democrats to pour more money into saving Manchin’s seat. Republicans have a shot at flipping senate seats in Florida, Indiana, and North Dakota. The Republicans only have a one-seat advantage in the Senate, which obviously means the Democrats cannot afford to lose any race.