Where is the Coverage for the Contentious Races?

(cross posted from MyFDL)

Christine O'Donnell isn't a witch, she's one of us.  That's great but she is currently trailing Chris Coons by an average 17 points. Carl Paladino enjoys e-mailing bestiality videos with a horse and a women to his friends.  Thats all well and good but Paladino is the only one getting plowed, in the polls.  Andrew Cuomo leads Paladino by a monstrous average of 27 points.  

These two races are some of the least contentious in the country (if you consider how many races are exponentially closer than these two).  Its understandable that the Carl Paladino e-mails and Christine O'Donnell's constant gaffes make good television and provide decent entertainment, but why can't we get decent coverage on races that are actually up in the air?

Its disappointing to see the lack of coverage in races that have a lot at stake.  For example, look at the senate election heating up in Wisconsin.  Russ Feingold (D-WI) has been in office for 17 years and is looking to lose his seat to a little-known businessman, Ron Johnson.  Feingold should have had a safe seat, but due to the growing discourse among Democrats this season, a good Democrat could face an early end to his Senate career.  

One of the most exciting, and one that could define this election cycle, is the Illinois Senate race.  Barack Obama's Senate seat is up for grabs and this time its not being sold by Rod Blagojevich!  Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D-IL) is running a close race against Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL).  Both candidates have a lot of baggage that has crippled them in their campaigns to an extent.  Giannoulias has been in hot water due to allegations of shady banking operations with his family bank, Broadway Bank.

*Giannoulias was pressed by Gregory over what he know about loans made to organized crime figures by the Giannoulias family owned Broadway Bank when he was a loan officer. Kirk has made those loans by the bank--which failed in April--a centerpiece of his campaign.

Asked if he knew that there were crime figures the bank was loaning money to, Giannoulias said "We did not know the extent of that activity," and when asked again, said "I did not know the extent of their activity."

(Source: Chicago Sun-Times Blog)

Rep. Kirk has also seen his fair share of controversy during this campaign, regarding his military service record.  Kirk claimed to receive the Navy's Intelligence Officer of the Year award, when in fact he didn't.

But Kirk first drew scrutiny when he claimed he was the Navy's Intelligence Officer of the Year. It turns out he didn't win that award. Rather, in 2000, the National Military Intelligence Association awarded the intelligence unit led by Kirk the Vice Admiral Rufus L. Taylor Navy Reserve Intelligence Award, which honors exceptional achievement by outstanding intelligence professionals. And Kirk was tapped to physically accept the award at the National Military Intelligence Association’s annual awards banquet.

Kirk has since acknowledged that he incorrectly referred to himself as the "Intelligence Officer of the Year."

"Most importantly, I wasn't thinking," Kirk said in a press conference. "This was a carelessness that did not reflect well upon me."

(Source:  Politifact)

Again, another great race overshadowed by the stupidity of people like O'Donnell and Paladino.

 

Another great race, and one near and dear to me, seeing very little coverage is the West Virginia senate race.  This is a special election, and the term being fought for is only to finish Byrd's term (2 years; 2012).  John Raese, probably one of the most divisive Tea-Party candidates in this election season, has barely seen the light of day among the media with the bat-shit crazy likes of Christine O'Donnell hogging the coverage.

With a week left before election day, Joe Manchin III has expanded his lead over Republican candidate and Tea Party backed John Raese.  The West Virginia Senate race has seen a shift in support recently to Raese, as Joe Manchin has been painted off as a "rubber-stamp for Barack Obama."   Manchin, of course, was quick to fight back with his opposition to the Cap and Trade Bill as well as his adoption of the term "Obamacare."

Recent reports from Watchdog.org show that Manchin has outraised Millionaire Plutocrat John Raese by a significant margin, and polls are starting to lead towards Manchin's way once again.

With just over one week until West Virginia voters pick the successor to Sen. Robert C. Byrd, and Gov. Joe Manchin, the Democratic candidate, is bringing in more campaign contributions than Republican opponent John Raese.

According to Federal Election Commission campaign disclosure reports, Manchin brought in $2.8 million in donations between the beginning of August and the end of September. Raese, on the other hand, brought in $1.9 million; nearly a million less than Manchin.

It is important to note that of the $1.9 Million Raese has raised, $1.42 has come from his own pocket.  Raese's personal financing of his senate bid may end up netting him losses given the current polling trend.

Manchin, as it is also worth mentioning, receives heavy endorsements from coal and energy firms such as X-Coal Energy Resources, Patriot Coal, Kanawha Eagle Coal, Alpha Natural Resources, etc.  It is clear who big coal endorses in this race.  That doesn't stop Raese though, who is the owner of Greer Industries (which operates one of the biggest limestone producers in West Virginia).

Raese has built his campaign's foundation on his opposition to President Obama.  His most well-known ad features him trolling the streets while proclaiming "I won't be a rubber-stamp for Barack Obama."  This has sat well with West Virginia voters given their opposition towards President Obama.

What has been peculiar is the tightness of this race.  Joe Manchin, for the most part, has seen a very high approval rating for himself (averaging at about 70% for his stint as Governor).  So why is he having so much trouble?  The D next to his name.  Voters in West Virginia are increasingly apprehensive to vote for a Democratic, which most can assume is attributed to Barack Obama's Presidency.  Voters in the Mountain State generally aren't supporting the President's policies, and they see electing another Democrat as an endorsement of these policies.

This is why Manchin has been quick to distance himself from the President, much to the same tune as other Democrats across the country are as they fight for their respected seats.

The latest PPP poll shows Manchin 6 point lead heading into the week before election Tuesday.  That, on top of a +10 margin produced from a Marshall University poll last week, has put him slightly ahead of Raese.

Personally, we need a blug dog Democrat more than we need a Tea Party Patriot representing West Virginia in the Senate.  A vote for John Raese is a vote endorsing the former regressive policies of the Bush Administration, eliminating the departments of education and energy, and a slew of other extremely right-wing policies.  A man who lives in Florida and Colorado, in addition to West Virginia, and received an endorsement from Former-Governor Sarah Palin for his race in Pennsylvania (where she thought Raese was running) is trying to take over the Senate seat that was once held by the late, great Senator Robert C. Byrd.

It would be a shame to see Raese take hold of Byrd's old seat.

Yes, Christine O'Donnell and Carl Paladino (and of course the Rent is Too Damn High Party's Jimmy McMillan) are all interesting and entertaining.  However, neither of these races hold any competitive value anymore.  There needs to be more focus on the races that still matter.

Elections and the God Factor

By now most have seen, or at least heard about, the ad that Jack Conway (D-KY) is running to attack Rand Paul (R-KY) on religion. Conway took, what I consider to be, an objectionable last-ditch effort to discredit Rand Paul. In a race where Paul has been consistently leading Conway by 4-8 points (depending on the poll), Conway was clearly desperate to hit Paul and hit him hard.

For those who are not familiar with the ad, Conway attacks Rand Paul’s membership in a “secret society that mocked Christianity” and allegedly called the Holy Bible a “hoax.” The ad also mentioned references to the now famous Aqua-Buddha supposed worship.  

Make no mistake, this post is in no way an endorsement for Rand Paul. I find myself agreeing with Jack Conway on many more things than Paul, however this lowball attack ad campaign is ridiculous. Religion should be disregarded from political elections and a heavier focus should be placed on policy issues, and what candidates are going to bring to the office they are wishing to hold (however that would be in a perfect world).  

On the other hand, from a recent episode of Hardball Chris Mathews (like him or not) pointed out that what Conway used in his ad, albeit distasteful, has yet to be proven wrong.  Rand Paul avoids discussing the issue and the voters in Kentucky don't seem too distraught by the accusations (at least not enough to put polls in Conway's favor).  

This provides a perfect segue for the latest installment of religious-based smear tactics, courtesy of everyone’s favorite millionaire: John Raese.

Raese, who has already piled a wholesome $2.4 Million of his own money into his campaign, is starting to realize he’s in trouble. The polls show Manchin up anywhere between 2 and 5 points, and Raese has begun to panic. Where to turn from here? How does a plutocrat of questionable residency appeal to the West Virginia voter base?

With just ten days before the November mid-term elections, one of the closest and most important Senate races in the country has entered the realm of “silly.”

Republican U.S. Senate John Raese affirmed his support for Lance Schultz, president of the West Virginia Conservative Fund. Mr. Schultz criticized Mr. Manchin, saying the governor supports cap and trade legislation. He added that any candidate that supports such legislation “denies the existence of God, denies the truth of His work.”

“Well I tell you, you can’t have any better support than Lance Schultz,” Mr. Raese said following the event.

(Source: The State Column)

Granted Raese did not claim directly that Manchin denies the existence of God, he didn’t denounce it either. The most baffling part of this quote is that Joe Manchin is an outspoken critic of the Cap and Trade Legislation (he literally shoots a hole in the bill)

Hopefully, John Raese will take the higher road and not pursue the issue any further. It’s a shame when candidates get so desperate that they have to question the opponent’s personal faith in God to score political points.

(cross-posted from MyFDL)

WV-Sen: Raese's Residency Issues Continue

Cross-Posted on FDL Seminal 

The Republican candidate for US Senate in West Virginia is John Raese, a wealthy businessman who owns properties in Colorado and Florida in addition to West Virginia. Raese has received heat from his Democratic challenger, Governor Joe Manchin, for not being a true West Virginia resident, to which Raese denies vehemently.

However, CQ Politics released an official statement showing some very interesting news that will no doubt hurt the Raese campaign. John Raese’s wife, Elizabeth Raese, has been registered to vote in Palm Beach County, FL since 2001 and is unable to vote in West Virginia because of this. Raese continues to claim that he holds limited ties to the Sunshine State, however this news certainly doesn’t aid that argument in his favor.

Roll Call confirmed Friday that Elizabeth Raese is registered to vote in both states but has not voted in West Virginia since 1998. But in an interview this week with Time magazine, she indicated that she would be — and has been — voting in West Virginia.

“We are West Virginians,” Elizabeth Raese said, according to Time reporter Jay Newton-Small. “We live here, we vote here, people know that. We also have a home in Colorado, but we’re not residents there either.”

Raese campaign spokesman Kevin McLaughlin said Elizabeth Raese does not remember the conversation with the Time reporter, but he added that, “If she did say this, she obviously misspoke.”

Though John Raese’s campaign has repeatedly confirmed that he lives and pays taxes in West Virginia, an investigation by the nonpartisan PolitiFact.com showed that his wife has been registered to vote in Palm Beach County, Fla., since 2001 and voted there in 2008.

(Source: CQ Politics)

Raese is an outspoken critic of the Department of Education, and does not even enroll his children in West Virginia schools. His daughters attend private school in Florida. John Raese continues to distance himself from base voters in West Virginia and has failed to present anything about himself that relates him to West Virginians in general (besides flaunting his lifetime NRA membership and general disapproval of Obama). Raese has attempted to take advantage of his "residency" in the past by running for office against the like of Jay Rockefeller, Robert C. Byrd, and former West Virginia Governor Arch Moore. He has failed to gain the respect of West Virginia voters so far, and has continued to inadvertently distance himself in this campaign.

Expect Manchin to gain more of a lead because of this recent news.

The West Virginia Senate Race has been everything but typical, and the latest Marshall University poll perpetuates this. Joe Manchin (D), who was down by as many as 4 pts on the RCP averages earlier this month, is now up by 2.5. This was due to the Marshall University poll that has Manchin leading GOP opposition John Raese by 10 points. Granted this poll only had a sample size of 450.

The Marshall University poll shows Manchin taking 48 percent to Raese’s 38 percent, with 12 percent still undecided.

The new poll is the latest this week to show an uptick in support for the governor. The survey tested 450 likely voters on Oct. 11-12, just after former President Bill Clinton held a Morgantown rally for Manchin on Monday. The poll was conducted using live interviews and has a 4.6 percent margin of error.

Manchin, the popular two-term governor who Democrats expected would have an easy path to succeed the late Sen. Robert Byrd, has been a victim of a toxic political environment. Raese, a wealthy mining company owner, and national Republicans have spent heavily to tie Manchin to an unpopular President Obama.

(Source: Politico)

So this looks good for the Democrats right? Well… sort of. Joe Manchin is a popular governor and a conservative democrat. His recent ad touts his NRA endorsement and criticizes the healthcare bill (which he originally supported) and the cap and trade bill. Some are labeling Manchin as a DINO (Democrat in Name Only) and many will find themselves voting for 3rd Party Candidate Jesse Johnson (Mountain Party).

Joe Manchin would add another D to the list in the Senate, but may break with party lines on issues he is more right-leaning. Manchin has faced a ton of heat from the more liberal electorate in West Virginia, criticizing his environmental policies and lack of action against Mountaintop Removal mining.

The West Virginia GOP released this statement: (also found on Politico)

“This poll is from Obama’s and Manchin’s lips to your ears,” West Virginia Republican Party Chair Mike Stuart said in a statement Friday. “We are saddened that a beloved institution like Marshall University has been inserted into a partisan effort to advance the Obama agenda by electing Joe Manchin. Mr. Wilkerson needs to publicly apologize to Marshall University and the people of West Virginia for this obviously partisan poll.”

 

GOP Senate Candidate Suggests Abolishing Dept. Of Energy, Education

I mentioned John Raese in a post just a few days back.  He is the GOP Candidate for the US Senate special election in West Virginia.  Robert C. Byrd's vacated seat is up for grabs.  Raese is running against Current West Virginia Governor, Joe Manchin.  

Raese hasn't been shy about his staunchly conservative background, and made it known even more in an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review earlier this week.  

Raese would advocate paying for tax cuts by eliminating the federal departments of Education and Energy and the Internal Revenue Service, along with such other cuts as freezing federal workers' salaries for a year. In place of the IRS — whose agents he said would be of better use guarding the U.S.-Mexico border — he supports either a flat income tax or a national sales tax.

(Source:  Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

 

Raese coins the token position of Conservative "Almost-Jesus" Ronald Reagan when posting his views on the aforementioned departments. Reagan apparently wanted to abolish the department of Education as Raese claims.  In the interview, he is quoted as saying:

"What does the Department of Energy do?  I don't know.  Does it drill any wells?  Does it mine any coal? ... do we need it? No."

It might be helpful, Mr. Raese, to know a little bit about the Departments of the Federal Government that you want to get rid of.   Raese is currently trailing Joe Manchin (D) by a slim margin of a -2 spread, according to polling compiled on RCP.  Manchin had previously held a sizable lead, but in the last few months that lead has dwindled and the Governor is now having to play catch-up.

 

Trouble Brewing For Joe Manchin in WV Senate Race

(Crossposted on FDL Seminal)

Hello again MyDD community, it has been awhile since I've posted on here.

Up until now, Governor Joe Manchin (WV) has been riding the tide. He’s had 50%+ approval ratings for the majority of his gubernatorial stint (with an astounding 80% in January of 2006), is a recognizable name in West Virginia, and has made his name known on the national scene by being the leader that carried the Mountain State through the coal mining tragedies in the past years.

Manchin declared his candidacy for the United States Senate shortly after long-time serving West Virginia Senator Robert C. Byrd passed away. Most saw this as a clear victory for Manchin. His primary foes didn’t amount to much of a competition (despite a candidate solely running on Mountaintop Removal-Related Issues) and Governor Joe seemed slated to keep the Senate seat for the Democrats for the midterm elections.

However according to a Public Policy Polling (PPP) Poll released earlier this week, Manchin was down 3 points to the GOP contender John Raese. (Albeit, a Rasmussen Poll has Manchin up 7 points). This is leaving the West Virginia Republican Party salivating at the prospects of an upset.  . . .

"Our folks are jacked up," said Jim Dornan, Raese’s campaign manager.

Rasmussen Reports, based on its findings from a survey on Sunday, said the race went from the Toss Up to again in the Leans Democrat category in its Election 2010 Senate Balance of Power rankings. Manchin has a 50 percent to 43 percent lead over Raese, Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen polled 750 likely voters on Sunday. Two weeks ago Rasmussen called the race a toss-up with Manchin favored by 50 percent to Raese’s 45 percent.

(Source: Parkersburg News)

This isn’t Raese’s first attempt at Electoral glory in the Mountain State. Raese has attempted, a number of times, to unseat West Virginia notables like Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd, and even Former Republican Governor Arch Moore. All of these attempts have left Raese unsuccessful at gaining office. This looks to be Raese’s best chance yet at getting elected.

Raese has made his name known across the mountains and valleys of West Virginia by running an ad stating that he will not be "a rubber-stamp to Barack Obama." As cheesy and lame as it sounds, it will most likely have an effect on voters in West Virginia given that the state voted overwhelmingly for McCain in 2008.

All Obama, All The Time: Raese may be running against Manchin, but his campaign will be focused on Pres. Obama. Obama’s poll numbers in West Virginia are among his worst in the country. As one West Virginia Republican put it, "he’s despised here." Republican polling has found that Obama’s disapproval is climbing toward 70% and support for health care reform isn’t much better.

Raese will nationalize the race and Republicans believe he stands to benefit from the strategy in a big way. To do this, he’ll seek to tie Manchin to Obama with steel ties. Raese will particularly target health care reform and cap and trade legislation — two issues that West Virginians strongly oppose. This strategy is apparent in one of his latest ads.

"Joe Manchin’s been supporting Barack Obama’s liberal agenda for years," the narrator says. "Manchin supports Obama’s government run health care and its $400 billion in Medicare cuts…We can’t afford Joe Manchin in the Senate as a rubber stamp for Obama." Expect to see plenty more like that.

(Source: Hotline On Call)

Years?  It makes it sound like Obama has been in office longer than 20 months.  Oh well, that Raese sure is a strange one!

Manchin’s lead in the race has been slowly dwindling. West Virginia is a peculiar state. In the past 3 Presidential elections, West Virginia has voted (mostly by a decent margin) for the Republican candidate. However, only one GOP member is currently seated in Congress from the state (Shelley Moore Capito). It will be interesting to see how this Senate race plays out.

Manchin is highly regarded across the state, but as of late has taken some controversial positions on hot-button issues like the Bush Tax Cuts. The West Virginia AFL-CIO was disappointed and "taken aback" by Joe Manchin’s support for the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts.

On Wednesday, Manchin said he believes Bush-era tax breaks should be extended for all Americans, including the wealthiest. The governor said the federal government should seek ways to be more efficient before asking people of any income level to pay higher taxes in a recession.

Matheney (WV AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer) on Thursday said those statements are disappointing.

"When there’s a tremendous outcry about deficit spending, to continue the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest in the belief that it’s somehow going to stimulate our economy, it defies logic," Matheney said. "I think anyone supporting the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest is disappointing, and it was surprising."

(Source: Charleston Gazette)

This will most likely not sit well with Democrats in the state. West Virginia is by no means rich. In fact, it is one of the poorest states in the Union (I believe Mississippi is the only state to have a lower income level). Manchin’s argument has a foundation on the age-old belief that you shouldn’t raise taxes during a recession. What is ironic about this stance, which most GOP members of Congress support, is that we can’t afford to extend the Bush Tax Cuts. This would increase the deficit even more, something Republicans have been harping about for months now. It would make more sense to give tax breaks to the Middle-Class, especially in West Virginia’s case, so that people can start spending again.

Anyway, enough Bush Tax Cut rants.

The Raese-Manchin matchup slated for November will be a defining race in West Virginia’s history. Will the state choose to stick with tradition and keep a Democrat they’ve had good feelings about for the past 8 years or will voters be swept up in the GOP tide and vote in Businessman Raese.

Raese is the typical Republican. Need proof? Just visit his website and click on his bio tab. The first thing you see after you click on it is a picture of Raese decked out in a flashy suit clutching a rifle with the all too familiar tagline that reads "NRA Lifetime Member." Nothing like guns to court the West Virginia vote.

This shake-up could be a defining moment, not only for West Virginia, but the United States Senate as a whole.

Hold on to your hats, this one is going to get interesting.

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