At its National Convention online today, the Constitution Party nominated former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship for President on the second ballot. William Mohr was nominated unanimously for vice president.
As posted at Ballot Access News, the vote went as follows:
- Blankenship 139.5
- Charles Kraut 77.8
- Samm Tittle 46.35
- Don Grundmann 25.25
- Daniel Clyde Cummings 13.1
- Blankenship 177
- Kraut 86.75
- Grundmann 24
- Tittle 21.25
Blankenship, 70, was the CEO of Massey, a coal mining company, from 2000 until 2010. During his tenure, the 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine disaster killed 29 people in West Virginia. Blankenship blames the disaster on the negligence of officials from the Mine Safety and Health Administration. The federal investigation that followed the disaster led to the prosecution of Blankenship. At the criminal trial, the jury rejected three felony charges but found him guilty of conspiring to violate federal mine safety laws, a misdemeanor with a prison sentence of one year. The prosecutors were later found to have committed reckless misconduct due to their failure to disclose witness memoranda. Blankenship continues to maintain his innocence and decided to run for West Virginia’s U.S. Senate seat after leaving prison in 2017.
During the three-man 2018 campaign for the Republican nomination, at least 105 media outlets and individuals falsely described Blankenship as a “felon” and/or “convicted felon.” Blankenship alleges the coverage implied his responsibility for the deaths in the mine disaster and cost him the election. He sued for defamation and the case is currently going to trial. After losing the primary, Blankenship joined the Constitution Party and attempted to run as the Constitution Party nominee for the seat but was denied ballot access.
Blankenship announced his intention to seek the Constitution Party presidential nomination in October 2019. During his campaign he sought to out-Trump Trump, meaning he wanted to present himself as a better reflection of the President Donald Trump’s moment than Trump himself. This included a populist platform of restrictive immigration and protectionist trade policies.
Ahead of the national convention, Blankenship participated in a few presidential debates and won the non-binding primary in Missouri. He also won the binding primary in Idaho that effectively left him as the nominee of the unaffiliated Idaho Constitution Party.
Blankenship’s running mate, Mohr, is from the Michigan Taxpayers Party, the Constitution Party affiliate in Michigan. He ran on the party line for state legislature in 2012 and 2014, receiving 3 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively, in those elections.
According to the April 2020 print edition of Ballot Access News, the Constitution Party is currently on the ballot in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.