A controversial politician and convicted criminal has entered the race for Senate… as a Democrat.
Don Blankenship filed his candidacy on Jan. 26. He previously ran for senate in 2018 as a “radical” Republican.
In a press release accompanying his filing, Blankenship said he wants to change the mainstream Democratic party.
“We will work hard to return the Democrat Party positions to those that help West Virginians, and all Americans and that comply with common sense and our core beliefs. We will stop supporting policy which is advanced by West Coast freaks and DC crazies,” the release said.
Blankenship served a federal prison sentence of one year for violating mine safety and health standards following the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster.
The West Virginia Democratic party has openly distanced itself from Blankenship, saying that he does not share the values of the party and that he is Democrat in name only.
“Since getting out of prison Don has been struggling to find a way to be relevant. This sad gimmick is just his latest effort to find a political lifeline. The West Virginia Democratic Party remains committed to supporting candidates who truly represent Democratic values and who will work to improve the quality of life for all West Virginians,” Mike Pushkin, the chair of the state Democratic party, said. “Our party is focused on improving healthcare, supporting workers’ rights, strengthening mine safety, and guaranteeing reproductive freedom.”
He is the third candidate to join the Senate race as a Democrat. Zach Shrewsbury and Glenn Elliott, the mayor of Wheeling, filed earlier this month.