Aug. 29 (UPI) -- The West Virginia Supreme Court on Wednesday denied former businessman and ex-convict Don Blankenship a spot on the November ballot as the Constitution Party's Senate candidate after he lost the Republican primary in May.
The court said it will release its full opinion "in due course," but at issue was whether the state's sore loser law, which prevents candidates who lose in party primaries from jumping into another party during the same election, are constitutional, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.
According to the law, candidates can't "take advantage of the later filing deadlines and have their name on the subsequent general election ballot."
Hours after hearing arguments, the court gave Secretary of State Mac Warner an order "to take whatever measures are necessary to ensure" Blankenship does not appear on the ballot as a Senate candidate.
In a statement, Blankenship called the court's decision "frightening."
"Essentially, the Republican Party can now slander a candidate throughout the primary, effectively denying that candidate an equal opportunity to win the nomination, and simultaneously pass a law in the middle of an election cycle which prohibits the slandered person from being on the general election ballot," he said. "Americans desperately need to pay attention as the politicians continue to move voters to the sidelines and out of the election process."
In May, Blankenship finished third in the GOP Senate primary, which was clinched by State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
Shortly after, he announced his intention to run as the Constitution Party candidate.
In 2016, Blankenship was sentenced to one year in federal prison for conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards. The conviction was in relation to the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine explosion that killed 29 men. The mine was run by Blankenship's Massey Energy Company and investigators found several safety violations that led to the explosion.