Thursday, July 26, 2018

Is Don Blankenship Going To Guarantee Joe Manchin Reelection In November?


Don Blankenship coulda been a contender. Despite having been in prison, he was on track to win the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate until Trump gave him the big thumbs down. By the May 8 primary he came in a distant third:
Patrick Morrisey- 47,571 (34.92%)
Evan Jenkins- 39,888 (29.28%)
Don Blankenship- 27,153 (19.93%)
Tom Willis- 13,322 (9.78%)
Bo Copley- 4,206 (3.09%)
Jack Newbrough- 4,080 (3.0%)
As of the primary Blankenship had put $4,015,000 of his own money into the campaign-- 99.88% of everything he used to finance his campaign. Only the GOP loser, Evan Jenkins spent more ($4,213,640). Now Blankenship says he's running as the Constitution Party. In fact, yesterday he submitted the necessary paperwork and 11,000 signatures at the Secretary of State’s Office. That saw office has announced they will challenge Blankenship's ability to run under West Virginia's "sore loser law." A sore lose is exactly what Blankenship is. He can't win-- but he could torpedo Patrick Morrissey's campaign. The funny thing about this is how Blankenship began this saga as a grudge match/revenge tour against Joe Manchin and Barack Obama only to turn it into a grudge match/revenge tour against Morrisey, McConnell and Trumpanzee.
In a news release under Constitution Party letterhead, party vice chairman Phil Hudok outlined the case for Blankenship’s right to ballot access.

Citing equal protection laws in both the state and U.S. Constitution, Hudok objected to the concept that Blankenship could run as a “sore loser” with a ballot-qualified party, but not with the Constitution Party.

“The fact that the ‘sore loser’ law applies only to an unsuccessful candidate seeking to run in the general as an independent or nominee of a non ballot-qualified party-- but not for a ballot-qualified party-- is facially unconstitutional,” Hudok said.

Around the state, at least two other candidates have successfully joined the general election ballot as Mountain Party candidates after losing in primary elections with other major parties.

Additionally, Hudok took up issue with changes the Legislature made to the “sore loser” law during the 2018 Legislative session and the timing those changes take effect. Gov. Jim Justice signed House Bill 4434 into law in March, and it took effect June 5. That bill explicitly delineated the “sore loser law,” which some legal experts were skeptical of prior to the changes.

Hudok said by the time the law took effect, the party had already named Blankenship to be its Senate nominee and had begun gathering signatures to get him on the ballot. Thus, he said, Blankenship’s bid should be considered under the laws before they were changed.

However, Steve Connolly, the deputy Secretary of State and general counsel for the administration, said the Office maintains the position that both West Virginia code and case law prevents Blankenship from running as a Constitution Party candidate after losing in the primary as a Republican.

He said Blankenship made a conscious decision to run as a Republican in a losing bid. Therefore, he said, there is no question or lack of ballot access for being denied “a second bite at the apple.”

As for the changes to the law, he said all statutes are considered active from when they are enacted unless specific text in the law marks otherwise.

The case is likely to wind up in court, and the state has retained Williams, of Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough LLP, as counsel. Given Morrisey has a vested interest in the election, his office began seeking outside counsel in May.

In an interview after he filed his election papers, Blankenship said he will appeal a denial if it occurs, likely in state court. He did not directly answer a question regarding whether he would make any special requests of the court, like a change of venue or judge, to ensure impartiality.

“I don’t think that judges anymore are impartial in any event,” he said. “The judges have proven in my case at least for the last 30 years that they’re not impartial, but we expect that this whole situation is so cut and dry that they won’t have any choice but to uphold the Constitution.”

When asked how he could win in a general election, Blankenship said external factors led to his loss. He blamed unfair treatment from the media, an unexpected move from President Donald Trump backing his opponents one day before the election, and an unfair justice system for his loss. He declined to accept any blame personally.

“No, I don’t know what more I could have done,” he said. “I was ahead in some polls by 10 points, 18 in others before the president came out the morning before the election, and there’s not much I could do in 24 hours.” Grant Herring, a spokesman for incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) signaled warmth to the notion of Blankenship in the race in an emailed statement.

“Senator Joe Manchin has always encouraged people to get involved and run an honest campaign,” he said.

In a statement in his own name emailed through a spokesman, Morrisey suggested the run is just a ruse, then turned it into a personal attack on Manchin, attempting to paint the moderate Democrat, who has voted with President Trump’s agenda about 60 percent of the time, as a “liberal” with a “record of supporting pro-abortion policies, gun control, and Hillary Clinton’s campaign against coal miners.”

Recent polling suggests a Blankenship run could be a boon for Manchin. According to a June poll from Monmouth University, Manchin leads Morrisey by 9 points with Blankenship in the picture, a lead that tapers down to 7 points if he doesn’t make it. However, Blankenship said he believes he could siphon enough votes from both Manchin and Morrisey to pull out a win.
Earlier today, West Virginia's Secretary of State, Mac Warner, turned down his bid to run, as expected. No doubt, Blankenship will see him in court.

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At 5:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Republicans can't win fair elections, so they change the rules until they can win at all.

At 6:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess we can cross out the constitution party as a possibility for relevance.

manchin would have won anyway. He's already ratified his Nazi bona fides. And he'll cement them with a vote for putin's latest addition to the SC.


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