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.
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.
West Virginia Primary Popular Governor Joe Manchin easily won the Democratic nomination Saturday in the race to fill the Senate seat left vacant by the death of Senator Robert Byrd. He will face GOP primary winner and wealthy businessman John Raese who has previously run unsuccessfully for Governor and for the Senate. Raese beat out nine other Republicans. The New York Times has the full details.
Louisiana Primary Voters in the Bayou State also headed to the polls on Saturday. Results are not fully in as yet but it appears that scandal-plagued Republican Senator David Vitter appeared poised for an easy primary victory over two little-known challengers. With 23 percent of the precincts reporting, Vitter has amassed 88 percent of the vote. On the Democratic Side Congressman Charlie Melancon, who also had two primary opponents, is coasting to an easy victory. Melacon has 69 percent vote with 23 percent of precincts reporting. The Vitter versus Melacon promises to be the nastiest contest this cycle. A Libertarian party candidate, Randall Hayes, will also be on the November ballot.
There is also a competitive Democratic primary in the Louisiana Second Congressional District that encompasses much of New Orleans. The seat is currently held by GOP Congressman Anh Joseph Cao. Cedric Richmond, a Louisiana State Representative endorsed by much of the state's Democratic political establishment, beat out three others in that race with 64 percent of the vote. The New Orleans Times-Picayune has live updates.
A Recount in Vermont Doug Racine, a State Senator from Richmond, finished 197 votes behind Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin in the five way Democratic gubernatorial primary in the Green Mountain State. Under Vermont state law, a candidate trailing by less than 2 percent can request a taxpayer-funded recount. Shumlin finished with 24.48 percent, or 18,276 votes, versus 24.22 percent, or 18,079 votes, for Racine. Secretary of State Deb Markowitz finished third with 17,580 votes, only 696 behind Shumlin and 499 behind Racine. Google community relations director Matt Dunne had 15,323 votes, and state Sen. Susan Bartlett had 3,759. The Burlington Free Press has more on this story.
The Show Me State is often hailed as a bellwether of national political trends. If so, the Democrats may be headed for a rough spell. More than 1.8 Republicans went to the polls Tuesday in Missouri for every Democrat. In the 2008 presidential primaries, and the 2002, 2004 and 2006 party primaries, the Democrats outnumbered Republicans at the polls.
Steve Kraske who writes the Prime Buzz column on Missouri politics at the Kansas City Star points to the above chart that tracks the party preference of voters in Missouri primaries from 1944-2010 to demonstrate how Missouri, once a Democratic bastion, has been slowly trending Republican.
The McCain-Palin ticket edged the Obama-Biden ticket by 3,632 votes out of more than 2.9 million cast in the 2008 Presidential election - a margin of 0.12 percentage points - to claim Missouri's eleven electoral votes. In presidential elections since 1956, as Missouri has gone, so has gone the nation. And the 2008 miss was only the second time the Show Me State voted for the loser since 1900.
After the election, Kevin Smith, a forty year veteran of Democratic presidential campaigns, said “Missouri has lost its status as a bellwether, it has established itself as a red state when it comes to national politics.”
Tuesday's results seem to confirm Mr. Smith's analysis.
For all the talk of the Democrats running against George W. Bush, it's clear that GOP is running against Barack Obama or in the case of Brian Nieves, a State Representative in Missouri now running for the State Senate, against Barack Hussein Obama.
Here are three GOP ads from around the country beginning with the Nieves ad in Missouri. Keep in mind that he is running for a seat in the State Legislature when you watch his commercial. Nieves, it should be noted, was one of the sponsors of Proposition C, the recently and overwhelmingly passed state initiative that seeks to exempt residents of the Show Me State from having to comply with PPACA, the US healthcare reform package signed by President Obama earlier this year. Nieves, who served in the Navy and is a Zone Pastor in the Church of the Living Bread in his hometown of Washington, MO just west of St. Louis in Franklin County (the meth capital of the Mid-West), is a 'Tea Party Patriot' who goes around telling people that 30 years from now others will ask "where were YOU during the patriot uprising?" All very amusing, if he weren't off his Show Me rocker.
Meanwhile in the Mountaineer State, John Raese released this ad, his first of the campaign, in his bid to become the next Senator from West Virginia. The conservative Republican makes no direct mention of Governor Joe Manchin, the Democratic candidate, and concludes the ad by proclaiming, "I won't be a senator that's a rubber stamp to Barack Obama, I'll only serve you." Raese, a businessman, ran unsuccessfully against Jay Rockefeller in 1984 and against Robert Byrd more recently in 2006. The Hill has some more background.
Down in Arizona, John McCain though facing a primary challenge from the right still seems to think that he is facing off against Obama. On the plus side, at least Senator McCain shows enough respect to refer to the President as President Obama something neither Nieves nor Raese could bring themselves to do.