(CNN) – The television ad wars are heating up in the Senate battle in West Virginia, where Republicans may have a good shot at capturing a seat held by the Democrats for over half a century.
A new commercial from GOP Senate nominee John Raese attacks Gov. Joe Manchin, the Democratic nominee, over coal, which continues to play a huge role in the state's economy. Around 30,000 people in West Virginia are directly employed by the coal industry.
"We generate electricity through coal. But Joe Manchin passed a law that eliminates 25 percent of coal usage in our power plants. It's Obama's cap-and-trade bill, West Virginia style," the narrator says in the ad.
"Joe Manchin should know better. Cutting coal usage will cost West Virginia jobs. Joe Manchin has thrown us under the bus. So imagine the damage he'll do in Washington with his friend, Barack Obama," Raese adds.
Manchin's campaign is fighting back.
"John Raese's latest ad is yet another blatantly false attack designed to distract West Virginians from his extreme policies that put his own interests above those of hardworking families. Joe Manchin led the fight opposing the cap-and-trade agenda of Barack Obama that would devastate the coal industry," says a release from the Manchin campaign.
"Raese's claim that Manchin passed a law eliminating coal usage is simply not true. In 2009, Gov. Manchin signed the Alternative and Renewable Energy Act that encourages the coal industry to continue to lead our nation toward energy independence. The legislation does nothing to inhibit the use of coal in West Virginia's power plants because it classifies coal as an alternative energy source, allowing the goals of the Act to be accomplished using only coal and natural gas."
Raese and Manchin, a popular two-term governor, will face off in a special election in November to fill the final two years of the term of Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd, who died earlier this year. Byrd was first elected to the Senate in 1958.
Raese is the president and chief executive officer of Greer Industries, which includes steel and mining operations. He lost to Byrd in the state's 2006 Senate race.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee also has a new ad in the state. Among other things, commercial claims that Raese would eliminate the minimum wage.
The most recent polls of West Virginia likely voters suggest a competitive contest between the two candidates.
Jesse Johnson of the Mountain Party is also on the ballot in the general election.
–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn