The attack ads are now flying in the West Virginia Senate race, where Republicans hope to beat two-term Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin in a state that has been trending their way — and thus capture the seat that was held for over 50 years by Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee has now launched a $1 million ad buy against Manchin. Polling data has consistently shown Manchin himself to be very popular in this state, and he is without a doubt the strongest candidate that the Democrats could have recruited for the race. But the GOP has an argument on its side, too — President Obama remains very unpopular in West Virginia, a state where he received a mere 43% of the vote back in 2008, and has only gone downhill since then. As a result recent poll have shown either Manchin or Republican businessman John Raese ahead by close margins.
The new NRSC ad continues the anti-Obama theme. “Joe Manchin supports Barack Obama’s big government agenda,” the announcer says, naming issues as the stimulus and health care reform. “Big spending. More government. Less freedom. We don’t want a rubber stamp for Obama. We can’t afford Joe Manchin in Washington.”
Raese himself has an ad that ties Manchin to Obama, and also suggesting that the Democrat will merely act as a rubber stamp for the White House. The ad uses some undated tracking video of Manchin saying of health care reform: “I am behind that. I am totally behind health care reform. And it has to happen sooner than later.”
As Raese says at the end: “I’m John Raese and I approve this message, because I won’t be a rubber stamp to Barack Obama.”
Meanwhile, Manchin has his own ad attacking Raese’s business background. That ad features Cecil Roberts, president of the United Mine Workers. “My job is protect these miners. Joe Manchin worked with us to pass historic mine safety laws. He’s always been there for us.”
The announcer cuts in, with the accompanying scary music: “But John Raese is bad for mine workers. Almost $100,000 in fines, over 600 safety violations.”
“John Raese puts profits before people,” Roberts says. “And I don’t trust him to look out for these miners — and neither should you.”