Blankenship filed Tuesday to run in West Virginia’s Republican primary. If he beats the competition, he could face Democratic Senator Joe Manchin in the general election.
Formerly the CEO of Massey Energy, Blankenship spent years advocating for the coal industry. A 2016 poll found he was the “most hated figure” in West Virginia. There’s good reason for that. In 2015, Blankenship was handed a one-year sentencefor conspiring to break mine safety laws. His company’s lax standards led to the 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Raleigh County, where 29 miners were killed.
So, did Blankenship’s time in the slammer help him see the error of his ways? Nope. The coal tycoon spent his days in prison writing a 67-page public notice in which he claims to be an “American political prisoner.” OK, buddy.