10/22/2010 12:24 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

United Mine Workers Begin Airing Ads In Support Of Rahall

The United Mine Workers of America launched ads in West Virginia's 3rd Congressional District in support of Democratic incumbent Nick Rahall this week.

Rahall's opponent, Republican Elliott "Spike" Maynard has attacked Rahall as anti-coal in the race.

The union's Power Pac began airing two television spots in the race, touting Rahall's record on mine issues and criticizing Maynard's ties to Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship.

The spots are online here and here.

Maynard, a former Democrat, lost his bid for reelection to the state's Supreme Court in 2008. Maynard was defeated after the release of photos which showed him vacationing on the French Riviera with Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship. Blankenship's company was appealing a case in Maynard's court at the time.

Maynard switched to the Republican Party earlier this year in preparation for this year's election. Blankenship and Massey officials have contributed to his campaign.

The UMWA endorsed Rahall in February:

"Rep. Rahall has been and remains a tireless advocate for our industry, as well as the security of those working in it and retired from it," Roberts said. "His work to secure the surface mining permit at the Hobet mine saved 500 jobs. His innovative approach to funding retired miners' health care literally has saved the lives of countless pensioners and widows who otherwise would have been without care."