A former coal company CEO who went to prison for charges arising from the deadliest U.S. mine disaster in four decades has kicked off his U.S. Senate campaign, telling an audience that pro-coal President Donald Trump presents a real opportunity for West Virginia.
Blankenship received several ovations from the more than 100 supporters attending the town hall-styled event Thursday evening in Logan.
He says having Trump and a Republican-controlled state Legislature gives us an opportunity to create jobs “that we cannot afford to miss” and “may never come again.”
Blankenship will face U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in the May 8 GOP primary. Democrat Joe Manchin is seeking re-election.
The 67-year-old Blankenship was released from a federal prison in California last year after serving a one-year term.
Blankenship was sentenced in 2016 for a misdemeanor conviction of conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards at Massey’s Upper Big Branch Mine in southern West Virginia, where 29 workers died in a 2010 explosion.