Ex-Mine Executive (And Ex-Con) Reportedly Will Run Against Joe Manchin In West Virginia

FILE - In a Wednesday, April 6, 2016, file photo, former Massey CEO Don Blankenship is escorted by Homeland Security officers from the Robert C. Byrd U.S. Courthouse in Charleston, W. Va. Attorneys for Blankenship and the federal government head to court this week in the ex-coal operator's appeal of his conviction in connection with the deadliest U.S. mine disaster in four decades. Oral arguments are scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 26, before a three-judge panel at the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va. (F. Brian Ferguson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP, File)
F. Brian Ferguson/Charleston Gazette-Mail

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship wants to make the jump from prison to the Senate.

Blankenship was convicted of conspiring to violate mine safety and served a year in prison for his role in failing to prevent an accident at Massey’s Upper Big Branch Mine that killed 29 people in 2010. He was released from prison last May — and has now decided to run against a longtime foe, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), according to WHCS TV.

The former mine executive has remained unrepentant for his role in the accident, instead blaming federal regulators, while attacking Manchin for how he handled the explosion when he was governor.

Blankenship has been aggressively critical of Manchin for years, and last month put out a TV ad accusing Manchin of having “blood on his hands” — a line Manchin used about Blankenship during the trial.

Blankenship, an extremely wealthy self-funder, has long been a major player in West Virginia GOP politics. But given his conviction, he’s far from the favorite to face Manchin — Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV) and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrissey (R) are already in the race.