September 20th, 2010
03:00 PM ET
4 years ago

Conservative group eyes Byrd's old Senate seat

FreedomWorks has endorsed West Virginia GOP Senate nominee John Raese.
FreedomWorks has endorsed West Virginia GOP Senate nominee John Raese.

Washington (CNN) – A leading conservative grassroots organization is taking aim at Robert Byrd's old Senate seat.

FreedomWorks announced Monday that they are endorsing Republican businessman John Raese, the GOP Senate nominee in West Virginia. Late last month Raese won the GOP nomination and will face off in a special election on Nov. 2 against the popular two-term Gov. Joe Manchin, the Democratic nominee.

The winner will fill the remaining two years of the term of longtime Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd, who died earlier this year.

FreedomWorks says it plans to support the Raese campaign with get-out-the-vote efforts, "including direct mailings, yard sign distribution, volunteer phone banks and neighborhood literature drops leading up to election day," according to a statement.

"John Raese recognizes that the most effective government solution to America's economic woes is to stay out of the way and give people the freedom to succeed on their own merits. This is exactly the kind of mindset we need in Washington right now," said FreedomWorks PAC President Matt Kibbe.

FreedomWorks is a nonprofit conservative organization based in the nation's capitol that helps train volunteer activists and has provided much of the organization behind the Tea Party movement.

Raese is the president and chief executive officer of Greer Industries, which includes steel and mining operations. He ran and lost to Byrd in the 2006 Senate race in West Virginia. The most recent polls of likely West Virginia voters suggest that Manchin holds a single digit lead over Raese.

But Monday, in what could be a blow to Raese, the national and West Virginia state chapters of the Chamber of Commerce endorsed Manchin. The West Virginia governor becomes the first Senate Democratic nominee the national Chamber of Commerce has endorsed this campaign cycle.

Jesse Johnson of the Mountain Party is also on the ballot in the general election.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: 2010 • FreedomWorks • West Virginia
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Jack

    That moniker FreedomWorks seems oh so Orwellian to me. Almost as scary as "Work Shall Set You Free." Remember that one?

    September 20, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  2. Marie MD

    freedom works – are we surprised? They are some of the folks financing that "grassroots" (pardon me while I laugh) group called the teabaggers.
    I hope the people in WV are smarter than this.

    September 20, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
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