This post was last updated on Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at 3:35 p.m.
Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship has officially filed paperwork to run for U.S. Senate in West Virginia.
The Senate Office of Public Records and the Federal Election Commission received Blankenship’s statement of candidacy and statement of organization Monday. Paula Blankenship, of Williamson -- who is married to the former CEO's nephew -- is listed as his campaign treasurer.
Blankenship finished a one-year sentence in May for willfully conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards, a misdemeanor. Federal court documents show that Blankenship’s one-year supervised release was transferred to Nevada, which probation officers noted in a memo was to become Blankenship’s “primary domicile.” Candidacy paperwork has Blankenship's address listed as a post office box in Williamson, West Virginia.
As a Republican, Blankenship would face West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Congressman Evan Jenkins in a May primary. The winner of that race is likely to square off against incumbent Democrat Joe Manchin in the 2018 general election.
According to the FEC, the next deadline to file campaign finance reports is January 31, 2018. That cycle will include financial activity through the end of the 2017 calendar year. Candidates for U.S. Senate file these reports directly with the Secretary of the Senate's Office of Public Records. In addition, Congress has exempted Senate candidates from filing their reports electronically, which means that the FEC will not receive Senate reports until days to over a week after a filing deadline.
Blankenship, who has already began to air campaign advertisements on television and online, was CEO of Massey Energy at the time of an April 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in which 29 men lost their lives.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story stated that Paula Blankenship was not related to U.S. Senate candidate Don Blankenship. Over the phone, Paula told West Virginia Public Broadcasting she was not related to him. In an email, Paula later stated: "I also wanted to let you know that I may have misinformed you on the question of my relationship to Mr. Blankenship. I am not directly related to him, but I am married to his nephew."