The Latest: Ex-coal baron Senate bid: 'Slap' for miner's dad

LOGAN, W.Va. — The Latest on the Senate campaign of former coal executive Don Blankenship (all times local):

8:20 p.m.

A West Virginia man whose son was killed in the deadliest U.S. mine disaster in four decades says a former coal executive's candidacy for U.S. Senate has brought up some bitter memories for his family.

Robert Atkins' 25-year-old son, Jason Atkins, died in the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine explosion that killed 29 men in southern West Virginia.

Atkins sat to one side of an auditorium in Logan as Don Blankenship addressed a town hall meeting. Blankenship is running in the Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat from West Virginia. Atkins calls Blankenship's candidacy "more of a slap in our face."

Blankenship was released from a federal prison last year after serving a one-year term for charges arising from the explosion.

But Thursday night's meeting drew no protesters, and the audience of more than 100 people clapped heartily during Blankenship's speech.

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6:45 p.m.

A former coal company CEO who went to prison for charges arising from the deadliest U.S. mine disaster in four decades has kicked off his U.S. Senate campaign, telling an audience that pro-coal President Donald Trump presents a real opportunity for West Virginia.

Blankenship received several ovations from the more than 100 supporters attending the town hall-styled event Thursday evening in Logan.

He says having Trump and a Republican-controlled state Legislature gives us an opportunity to create jobs "that we cannot afford to miss" and "may never come again."

Blankenship will face U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in the May 8 GOP primary. Democrat Joe Manchin is seeking re-election.

The 67-year-old Blankenship was released from a federal prison in California last year after serving a one-year term.

Blankenship was sentenced in 2016 for a misdemeanor conviction of conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards at Massey's Upper Big Branch Mine in southern West Virginia, where 29 workers died in a 2010 explosion.

____

6:25 a.m.

A former coal company CEO who went to prison for charges related to the deadliest U.S. mine disaster in four decades is kicking off his U.S. Senate campaign with a town hall meeting for voters.

Ex-Massey Energy boss Don Blankenship is scheduled to attend the meeting Thursday night in Logan.

Blankenship will face U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in the May 8 GOP primary. Democrat Joe Manchin is seeking re-election.

The 67-year-old Blankenship was released from a federal prison in California last year after serving a one-year term.

Blankenship was sentenced in 2016 for a misdemeanor conviction of conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards at Massey's Upper Big Branch Mine in southern West Virginia, where 29 workers died in a 2010 explosion.

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