Williamson – Former Massey Energy CEO may throw his hat in the political ring – depending on the “rules” established for the 2024 election.
Blankenship has made prior political runs, most notably in 2018 when polls showed him briefly leading just days before the Republican primary for United States Senate.
That 2018 primary was won by Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who went on to lose a tight race to incumbent Democrat Joe Manchin.
Manchin’s seat comes up again in 2024. There’s been speculation Blankenship might enter that race again or there’s speculation he might run for President on a third-party ticket as he did in 2020.
At the moment, the Mingo Countian says his primary focus is promoting “honest, fair elections.”
In that regard, he has called out members of the news media and political opponents for labeling him a “convicted felon” just when he was poised to win the GOP Senate primary.
Blankenship has never – before or after the 2018 election – been convicted of a felony.
Blankenship is particularly irate now because he attempted last week to run several ads on Comcast Cable in Washington DC and West Virginia.
“These spots highlighted the need for New York Times v. Sullivan to be overturned,” the ex-CEO explained. “However, Comcast refused to run these ads.”
Blankenship said, “The press is controlled by an oligopoly of multinational media conglomerates. New York Times v. Sullivan allows these corporate giants to collude with government officials to defame election candidates and sabotage election outcomes with impunity.”
He continued, “Weaponized defamation is extremely injurious to free speech and American democracy.”
Blankenship continued, “New York Times v. Sullivan is a protector of corrupt election activity far worse than Watergate. My case gives the Supreme Court an opportunity to reject a legal standard that empowers the press to sabotage American elections at the behest of government officials. Fair elections must be safeguarded if American democracy is to survive.”
When asked whether he would be a candidate for any public office in 2024, Blankenship responded, “We should know by then whether it remains legal to refer to my opponents as ‘convicted felons’ or even as ‘pedophiles.’
He went on, “If defamation is not prohibited by the rules of engagement, then perhaps it would be fun to play Senator Mitch McConnell’s game.”
Blankenship insists McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, and others orchestrated national news outlets in the waning of the 2018 campaign as a “felon” although they knew he was not.
With his comments about the verbal descriptions he might use in 2024, Blankenship was tacitly reminding listeners that McConnell posted a tweet that thanked Blankenship for “playing” after the 2018 West Virginia Republican primary election.
“Polls indicated that I had surged ahead to a sizeable lead in the polls just days before the primary,” Blankenship said.
The WV Statewide reporter can verify this based on his coverage of the 2018 race.
In fact, Morrisey hastily called a press conference on the Sunday before Tuesday’s primary to allege campaign law violations by Blankenship.
Many observers think the “felony” name-calling coupled with Morrisey’s attack reversed the eventual outcome.
Blankenship alleges, “McConnell then appealed to Fox News CEO Rupert Murdoch for help to defeat me. After that, multiple Fox News commentators falsely called me a ‘convicted felon’ on both the eve and the day of the election.”
Blankenship says he will continue his fight for fair, truthful elections. He is hoping the Supreme Court will come to the rescue on fair, honest advertising.
The former CEO must file in January 2024 if he intends to run for Senate again. Two major GOP contenders have already announced their candidacies – Governor Jim Justice and Congressman Alex Mooney.
Manchin has said he will not decide on a re-election bid until the end of the year.