Follow KDKA-TV: Facebook | Twitter

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A petition drive has started to place convicted former coal executive Don Blankenship on the West Virginia general election ballot in the U.S. Senate race as the Constitution Party’s nominee.

Blankenship’s campaign announced the petition drive Wednesday.

don blankenship Convicted Coal Executive Starts Third Party Ballot Petition Drive In W.Va.

MORGANTOWN, WV – MARCH 01: Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Don Blankenship speaks at a town hall meeting at West Virginia University on March 1, 2018 in Morgantown, West Virginia. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

To get him on the ballot, at least 4,537 signatures must be collected and submitted to the secretary of state by Aug. 1.

Blankenship finished a distant third in the Republican primary on May 8. He wants to join Republican nominee Patrick Morrisey and incumbent Democratic Sen. Manchin on the ballot in November.

A former Massey Energy CEO, Blankenship spent a year in federal prison for violating safety regulations in a 2010 mine explosion that killed 29 miners.

(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)