Secretary of State, Mac Warner, said Blankenship’s bid would violate the state’s “sore loser law” preventing a candidate who lost a primary from running again in the general election. Blankenship ran in the May GOP primary but finished a distant third, and submitted signatures earlier this week to run in November as the Constitution Party candidate.

“According to the plain language of the law, which controls my decision, a candidate who loses the Primary Election cannot use the nomination-certificate process to run another campaign in the General Election. Any other decision would be contrary to the law,” Warner said in a statement.

The decision is expected to kick off a legal battle over the law itself as Blankenship seeks to continue his campaign. Blankenship said in a statement before submitting his petitions that he expected to pursue legal efforts to fight an expected denial.