Blankenship: Ex-coal boss should stay out of campaign
Once two very strong contenders have entered a political race, lesser names throwing their hats into the ring tend to muddy the waters. Few have any realistic chance of winning. Their influence is only to pull votes away from leaders in the contest.
Two very good candidates have begun running for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate. It is presumed the winner will be pitted against incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., next fall.
State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., are the big names seeking the GOP nod for the Senate.
But last week, there was speculation about another candidate. Some media outlets reported Don Blankenship plans to seek the Republican nomination for the Senate.
Yes, that Don Blankenship. The one who spent time in a federal prison after being convicted of conspiracy to violate federal mine safety and health regulations.
Blankenship was convicted because of his tenure as head of Massey Energy. It was on his watch that the company’s Upper Big Branch Mine exploded in 2010, killing 29 miners.
Blankenship has defended himself strenuously, insisting he was not guilty of the charges. But his conviction was upheld by a federal appeals court, and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to even hear the case.
Why on Earth Blankenship would view himself as a viable candidate is beyond us. Perhaps his intention is to serve as a spoiler for either Jenkins or Morrisey.
Whatever the ex-coal baron’s thinking, however, he should save himself some money and stay out of the campaign.
It is not just that Blankenship has no chance of winning the nomination. The overwhelming majority of West Virginians just want nothing more to do with him.