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Joe Manchin, John Raese win West Virginia senate primaries


Two months after the Senate’s longest-serving member, Robert Byrd, passed away at 92,  West Virginia Democrats have decided on their choice to seek his seat.

Gov. Joe Manchin, two-term governor and scion of a powerful political dynasty, on Saturday  beat Ken Hechler, former West Virginia secretary of state, and Sheirl Fletcher, former state House of Delegates member, in a widely-expected primary landslide, winning 73% of the votes.

In November he’ll face businessman John Raese, who won the GOP primary in a similar landslide,  and Mountain Party candidate Jesse Johnson for the prize of sitting in the U.S. Senate for the two-year remainder of Byrd’s six-year term.

The seat will be contested in 2012, when the president’s “coat-tails” will likely be an even bigger factor than in today’s fractious political climate.

Despite electing a Democratic governor and two Democratic senators –- Sen. Jay Rockefeller alongside ...

... Byrd -- West Virginia went for John McCain in the 2008 presidential election, backing the Arizona senator over now-President Obama by a 13-point margin. The state backed George W. Bush over John Kerry by a similar margin in 2004.

Gov. Manchin is a member of the National Rifle Assn. and is socially conservative on abortion issues. Following Byrd’s death, he had the right to appoint himself to the open seat but decided to contest the seat as a regular candidate.

[UPDATE]: In the Louisiana Senate primaries also Saturday, Sen. David Vitter won the GOP nomination while Rep. Charlie Melancon triumphed in the Democrat race.

-- Craig Howie

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Photo: John Raese, left, and Joe Manchin. Credits: Associated Press


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Joe Manchin has some State issues (I wont go into them here, as they are not substantiated yet). Additionally, Obama has no coat tails here in West Virginia, it will be a close race but John Raese will win the seat.

Raese Wants To Go Back To ‘Capitalism The Way It Should Be’ — Before Child Labor Laws
Millionaire businessman John Raese is running on a hard-right “pro-business, anti-regulation and anti-tax platform” as the GOP nominee for a Senate seat from West Virginia. Despite having been rejected by the state’s voters three times — including once for the same Senate seat just four years ago — Raese is hoping to capitalize on the right’s current anti-government hysteria.

A self-described “flamboyant businessman,” Raese enjoys the finer things, owning over 15 cars, boats and motorcycles, and a home in Florida where his family lives full-time. But Raese is humble too, acknowledging that he didn’t earn all of that: “I made my money the old-fashioned way. I Inherited it,” he joked in a recent interview. “I think that’s a great thing to do,” he added.

Indeed, in a separate interview with right-wing radio host Laura Ingrham, Raese credited his grandmother with starting Greer Industries, the steel and limestone producer that he now runs. Raese looks back on the business climate of her era at the turn of the century with great fondness, saying he wishes we had the “opportunity in this country to bring back capitalism in the way my grandmother had” it. Raese bemoans that current regulations mean it “would take a lot more effort” to start


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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