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The Latest: Official said Blankenship can’t run for Senate

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – The Latest on convicted ex-coal baron Don Blankenship’s announcement that he’ll run for U.S. Senate as a third-party candidate (all times local):

10:30 a.m.

The West Virginia secretary of state’s office has said convicted ex-coal baron Don Blankenship wouldn’t be permitted to run in the general election for U.S. Senate after losing the Republican primary.

The comments came before Monday’s announcement that Blankenship would run as a third-party candidate, with the Constitution Party.

Mike Queen is communications director for Secretary of State Mac Warner. Queen made the remarks for a story Saturday in the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Queen says there’s no specific language code spelling out a “sore loser” law. He says his office would look to lawmakers’ “intent.”

He says: “The Secretary’s position is that Mr. Blankenship is not permitted to run again in the general election for the United States Senate. If Mr. Blankenship pursues the matter, he will most likely have to bring a legal action to force the Secretary to approve his candidacy.”

On Monday, the office referred questions to its lawyer, who didn’t immediately respond to questions.

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9:50 a.m.

Despite losing the Republican primary, convicted ex-coal executive Don Blankenship says he’ll continue his bid for U.S. Senate as a third-party candidate, though it’s unclear if the move violates the state’s “sore loser” law.

Blankenship’s campaign says in a Monday statement that he’ll run as a member of the Constitution Party, which nominated him unanimously.

Blankenship spent a year in prison over a fatal 2010 explosion at one of his mines.

He finished third in the GOP primary this month. The president opposed him.

West Virginia secretary of state spokesman Steve Adams says Blankenship has officially switched his party affiliation to the Constitution Party.

Adams has said West Virginia’s “sore loser” law prohibits major-party-affiliated candidates who lose in a primary from changing their registration to a minor party to take advantage of later filing deadlines. Adams referred questions Monday to legal counsel, who didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

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