The Parthenon

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EDITORIAL: We haven’t forgotten, Don

Controversial senatorial candidate Don Blankenship, laying out his agenda.

Controversial senatorial candidate Don Blankenship, laying out his agenda.

Lilly Dyer | Photo Editor

Lilly Dyer | Photo Editor

Controversial senatorial candidate Don Blankenship, laying out his agenda.


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Few names have as great an infamy in West Virginia as this one: Donald Blankenship. Blankenship, an ex-coal baron and recent ex-convict, is running for U.S. Senate. One of the most fatal coal mining disasters in U.S. history occurred under his leadership of Massey Energy. In 2016, he was sentenced for a misdemeanor conviction of conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards, resulting in the death of 29 coal miners in the 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine.

After being released from federal prison in May of last year, Blankenship is now running for one of the highest offices in the land. He is campaigning as a champion of the people. He says his indictment was wrong. He blames the Obama Administration. In the age of alternative facts and fake news, the candidate thinks he has found his chance to clear his name.

This candidacy is only about one man’s ego. This is nothing more and nothing less. This is about a man so self-serving that he is touring the state seeking affirmation, talking to any ear that will listen to his own conspiracies and egotistical nonsense. Blankenship’s past has shown quite clearly that he cares only for himself.  His candidacy is wasting our time and attention. W.V. will not fall for this dog-and-pony show.

Robert Atkins, the father of fallen miner Jason Atkins, told the Associated Press that Blankenship’s candidacy “is more of a slap in our face.”

Blankenship is not only slapping the families of these miners in the face, but he is slapping the entire state in the face. He thinks we can simply forget his negligence. But we won’t.

Blankenship, with a net worth of about $45 million, is working hard to convince West Virginians that he is one of them, telling a crowd in Logan, “Eventually, after the poorhouse, the outhouse and the bathhouse, I was invited and ate at the private dining table at the White House. And just last year, I lived in California in the big house.”

This anecdote seems to make light of his prison sentence, using it as just another part of his journey to the stage. That prison sentence was not just a bump in the road. It was payment for the negligence and greed shown by this man. This anecdote was not cute or charming.

It is simply shocking that this man is running for the senate. But the worst part of this whole thing is that he thinks he can lie to the people he is claiming to serve.

“I may leave here tonight in a little fancier car,” Blankenship said in his Logan town hall. “But we come from the same place, and I have not forgotten.”

West Virginia hasn’t forgetten either,  Don.

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