Convicted ex-coal CEO Blankenshiop kicks off US Senate bid

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.

Tyler Barker
Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com