Nov 29, 2017 - Politics & Policy

Former West Virginia energy exec will run for U.S. Senate: report

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, left, walks out of the Robert C. Byrd U.S. Courthouse after the jury deliberated for a fifth full day in his trial back in 2016. Photo: Chris Tilley / AP

Former energy executive Don Blankenship, who recently spent a year in California prison for "conspiring to willfully violate mine safety standards," will run for West Virginia's U.S. Senate seat as a Republican, per the local ABC affiliate in Charleston, West Virginia.

The intrigue: Blankenship was released from prison just six months ago, and according to USA Today investigative reporter Brad Heath, isn't allowed to leave Nevada without permission from a judge or probate officer until May because he's on federal supervision.

Why it matters: Blankenship's probation conditions, in addition to his controversial past as the Massey Energy chief executive when the Upper Big Branch mine exploded, will make campaigning for Senate even more difficult. He has blamed others for the explosion incident and even wrote a 67-page blog post about it, which he later printed and distributed 250,000 copies, per WCHS.

If he wins the primary, he'll face incumbent Dem. Senator Joe Manchin.

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