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.

Tags: Barack Obama, GOP, West Virginia, Bush tax cuts, NRA, Charleston Gazette, Joe Manchin, Rasmussen, WV SENATE ELECTION, JOHN RAESE, PPP POLLING, RUBBER STAMP FOR OBAMA (all tags)

Comments

2 Comments

Raese

Now that he's this close, I'd favor him to win.  He ran a terrible '06 campaign, so I wasn't expecting it to go down like this.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-09-22 01:37PM | 0 recs
RE: Raese

 West Virginians are big on gun ownership.  Raese makes his position pretty clear on that in his campaign website as mentioned.  That plus the "im not going to be a rubber stamp to Barack Obama" montage will, sadly, do a lot to garner votes.

 

by Chuckie Corra 2010-09-22 04:41PM | 0 recs

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