Recently Imprisoned Coal Baron To Run For U.S. Senate

Screengrab/Don Blankenship/YouTube

Rather than hit on how he will help constituents, Blankenship will focus on exposing the injustice of his imprisonment.

Don Blankenship, the coal company executive who went to prison for conspiring to break mine-safety laws after 29 miners were killed on his watch, has decided he wants the chance to challenge Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) in the 2018 midterms.

Blankenship, who finished his prison sentence in May, will be up against several others in a crowded Republican primary.

In a 2016 report, the Mine Safety and Health Administration said Massey had a culture of prioritizing production and profits over the safety of the people who worked for the company. While workers toiled underground with inadequate ventilation and incomplete safety protocols, Blankenship brought an eight-figure salary home to his mountaintop mansion.

Blankenship will likely have a tough time winning over voters next year - polling in 2016 found he was the "most hated figure in West Virginia."

The new ads won’t attempt to change that by focusing on health-care access for West Virginians, the opioid epidemic, or the need for innovative new jobs in the state. Instead, a campaign representative said Wednesday, they’ll be focused on “getting the truth out about [Upper Big Branch] and exposing the government cover-up.”