Constitution Party Nominates Don Blankenship for President on Second Ballot

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:

First ballot:

  1. Blankenship 139.5
  2. Charles Kraut 77.8
  3. Samm Tittle 46.35
  4. Don Grundmann 25.25
  5. Daniel Clyde Cummings 13.1

Second ballot:

  1. Blankenship 177
  2. Kraut 86.75
  3. Grundmann 24
  4. 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.

16 thoughts on “Constitution Party Nominates Don Blankenship for President on Second Ballot

  1. Krzysztof Lesiak

    Kraut would have been a significantly better choice. At the March 4th Free and Equal debate I attended, he was one of the most eloquent candidates, and came across as knowledgeable. It did seem, however, that on foreign policy he was neocon or neocon-lite, though – but the same could be said of Blankenship. Blankenship is also an incredibly boring and low-energy speaker. Go to the Constitution Party’s YouTube channel and watch one of his speeches – I mean Virgil Goode at least had his awesome Virginia accent going for him. And why would the party nominate someone with the kind of baggage Blankenship has? I personally don’t find his side of the story convincing.

    Now this is the second CP presidential nominee after Goode that is Bob Barr-tier IMO.

    Did Randy Stufflebeam win the election for CP chair? It appears he ran on a ticket with Ricardo Davis for vice-chair ( The declining CP could certainly use some new leadership, not that that would necessarily turn things around for the party, but it could perhaps at least become more democratic and transparent.

  2. Cody Quirk

    No, he’s not on in Oregon- Richard Winger refuses to acknowledge that the Oregon CP is a independent state party like the Idaho and Virginia CP’s are.

  3. Pingback: Don Blankenship zosta? oficjalnie kandydatem Partii Konstytucyjnej na prezydenta USA – Twierdza Chicago

  4. John H Killian

    The CP, founded on principle, is now so desperate to be relative. Howard Phillips is turning over in his grave

  5. V

    Especially if the Libertarians nominate Amash, I think they will get most of the people who might usually vote for the Constitutional nominee.

  6. Floyd Whitley

    Vote estimate modeling in use by CP-Idaho suggests that an expected total 2020 national vote for candidate Blankenship will be in the range of 207,801 to 244,907 votes. The point estimate is 226,354, assuming “all things are equal”. Our forecast model has been fairly accurate in previous elections.

    A caveat exists. We assume 2020 will be a “normal” general election year…obviously that has proven to be a sketchy assumption thus far. Average vote returns for national CP candidates across seven (7) elections is 142,408, our minimum expected vote for 2020. And things would have to deteriorate greatly for the results to approach that low of a return.

    One other important predictive element bearing consideration (here ignoring the influence of other candidates like Amash) is that a somewhat cyclical trend exists in national CP votes. Generally speaking, after a relatively large vote return (2016 for example), the subsequent ballot tends to be lower–e.g. 1996 vs. 2000; 2008 vs. 2012. If this “cyclical” variable is again observed in 2020, Mr. Blankenship’s vote return will be significantly lower than the 2016 results. How much lower is subject to debate.

    Ballot access is obviously also a key variable. By our imprecise count, 2016 under-performed its linear forecast, returning 5,077 votes per state ballot line (in which we include authorized write-ins). For 2020, the current linear regression suggests a “factor” of 5,764 vote per state ballot line. So, the number of state ballot lines gotten, multiplied by this vote factor, should be fairly close to the actual return…again assuming “all things are equal”.

    By our count, the average number of CP state ballot lines over seven elections is roughly 34. It is understood that, should the national CP ballot access effort fail to add available state ballot lines, Mr. Blankenship’s vote return will obviously be adversely affected.

    At this point, CP-Idaho has no reason to jettison the original and simple estimate model’s range. It has proven fairly reliable in the past. For what it’s worth…FWW

  7. paulie

    I doubt they’ll see 34 ballot lines this year. It’s a lot harder to get signatures than it is normally. Amash is better known and somewhat on the CP-leaning side of LP, so if he’s the nominee it will be harder for Blankenship to differentiate, as he will already have trouble differentiating from Trump. He does have the resources to advertise more than CP normally would, but it’s still a drop in the bucket compared to what will be deployed on behalf of Bump/Triden. And an open question how much he’ll want to self-fund.

  8. Floyd Whitley

    “an open question how much he’ll want to self-fund”…well not so much if judging by contributions to the national party listed with FEC. (The most recent):


  9. paulie

    Yeah, it’s still an open question. As the nominee his contributions are not limited, nor does he have to route them through the party. And presumably he has a lot more incentive as a presidential nominee than as a state level candidate who failed to make the ballot or someone merely seeking a presidential nomination. But, that doesn’t in itself mean he’ll want to spend millions, or hundreds of thousands, or even tens of thousands of his own money. He may, but he may not.

  10. Pingback: Graham: Constitution Party Tries to Out-Trump Trump with Blankenship Nomination | Caffeinated Thoughts

  11. paulie

    Per link in pingback above Blankenship spent $4 million on his Senate campaign. There’s a big difference between that and the contribution amounts to CP national listed above.

  12. Floyd Whitley

    While Mr. Blankenship will be on the CP-Idaho November ballot (the running mate TBD), I’ve got to be realistic. I just don’t foresee large scale contributions from the gentleman.

    I got the sense, in talking with the gentleman at our CP-Idaho Boise Debate (February 29th), that he was truly and deeply wounded by his sentence over the Upper Big Branch Mine catastrophe…that “felon vs. not felon” thing. Evidently, it weighs upon him.

    Speaking personally, it seemed that Mr. Blankenship was running for office more to exonerate, or perhaps to exorcise, this dark spot on his reputation and psychological well-being. I cannot image the effect of such an incarceration. I suppose it does take its toll.

    Still, that is a strange motivation for campaigning. The outcome (e.g. exoneration or exorcism) will ultimately occur just by the fact that he is running. As a cathartic then, that will occur (or rather I should say will presumably occur–I am no psychiatrist) irrespective of withholding or extending significant contributions from his part.

    I just don’t look for much in the way of freewill donations in this 2020 episode.

  13. paulie

    So why did he spend $4 million to run for US Senate? Is it because, unlike the presidency, he thought he had a real shot at winning?

  14. Floyd Whitley

    A conjectural question that. But as long as we’re speculating…

    By way of answering you, the run for U.S. Senate was closer in time to the gentleman’s release from federal prison. The wounds of incarceration were fresher then; and so perhaps the desire for retribution was hotter?

    And yes. Maybe it was due to more pragmatic reasons–e.g. a better chance of winning–as you note. Don’t know. Like I said, I’m no psychiatrist.

  15. paulie

    That’s possible. But it’s also the case that a candidate’s own campaign spending is unlimited, whereas contributions to parties are limited and not as incentivized when one is merely seeking a nomination. It may well be that you gleaned more from personal interaction than what the FEC numbers reveal, but just those numbers alone don’t mean he won’t spend significantly more on the campaign between now and the election. On the other hand, you could well be correct; he may not be taking this as seriously as the Senate race.

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