In West VA popular Democratic Governor Joe Manchin is locked in a tight battle with Republican John Raese. The latest Rasmussen survey has Raese up by three, but Rasmussen has moved the race from “lean Republican” to “tossup”. This race has fun the gamut, with Manchin considered a shoo-in for victory at the start, but with Raese coming on and taking a solid lead in the middle. Manchin has done nothing differently, and continues to have high approval ratings as Governor. But he is sagging under the weight of the Democratic label. Raese has run statewide and lost three times, and is frankly not an impressive candidate.
Manchin has now moved to separate himself from Washington Democrats in a very spirited way. He has been endorsed by the NRA, and a recent campaign ad had him shooting holes in the cap and trade bill with a rifle. He has also been aided by a Republican gaffe, where an ad for actors in a Raese ad called for “hickey” looking actors. Raese’s family living in Florida has also been seized upon by Manchin, who is painting Raese as an outsider making fun of West Virginians. If you are going to run for U.S. Senate it is generally advisable to have your wife living and voting in the State you are running in. Despite all of that Raese is still competitive, hanging the “rubber stamp for Obama” charge on Manchin. The Washington Post notes Manchin’s effort to separate from Obama:
Manchin has responded by trying to show voters just how unlike a Democrat he can be. He brags about his endorsement from the National Rifle Association. He has sued the Obama administration over environmental policy and in a campaign commercial fires a rifle at a copy of the “cap and trade” legislation that congressional Democrats have advocated. He promises, if elected, to “take on Washington and this administration.”
If Joe Manchin can’t win against a John Raese then for now it might be safe to say that no national election can be won by Democrats in West Virginia. Read the Washington Post story here.