by Chuckie Corra, Sat Oct 16, 2010 at 01:38:36 AM EDT
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.
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.”