Blankenship to seek US Senate seat as 3rd-party candidate

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.