October 1st, 2010
09:10 AM ET
10 years ago

West Virginia up for grabs?

(CNN) - As independent Republican groups pour more resources into West Virginia, a top non-partisan political handicapper now rates as a "toss up" the state's Senate battle, where the GOP hopes to capture a seat held by the Democrats for over half a century.

The Cook Political Report changed its outlook on the contest between popular two-term Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin and businessman John Raese, the Republican nominee, saying Thursday that, "the race that wasn't supposed to be competitive is now the contest that is too close to call today. It moves to the Toss Up column."

Another top non-partisan handicapper, the Rothenberg Political Report, lists the race as "Toss Up/Tilt Democrat."

Raese and Manchin 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.

On the same day that Cook changed its rating of the contest, American Crossroads announced it was beefing up its get out the vote efforts in West Virginia.

"West Virginia has emerged as a key state in the battle for control of the U.S. Senate and we are expanding our plans accordingly," said Steven Law, president and CEO of American Crossroads, in a release.

The group says West Virginia is the ninth state where they are investing in GOTV efforts. American Crossroads, which is also putting up ads in support of GOP candidates across the country, was launched this past spring by a group of influential Republicans. Their goal is to raise $52 million this year to help their party topple Democrats in the midterm elections. American Crossroads is likely competing with the Republican National Committee for many of the same donors.

Last week a leading conservative grassroots organization also announced it was taking aim at Robert Byrd's old Senate seat. FreedomWorks said 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.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is on the air with both television and radio ads as well, in support of Raese, the president and chief executive officer of Greer Industries, which includes steel and mining operations.

Raese lost to Byrd in the state's 2006 Senate race.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is up with new ad in the state, attack Raese. And early last week Manchin won the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, becoming the first Democrat in a Senate contest to win the organization's approval.

A Democratic source acknowledges that the race has tightened in West Virginia but points to baggage that could hurt Raese in the final four weeks of the campaign.

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

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: 2010 • West Virginia
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    "independent Republican groups "

    HAHAHA...euphmaize much? Why don't you post the tally. I'm sure everyone would love to see that WV's "independent Republican groups" are giant corporations and the coal mining industry that wants to keep blowing the tops off mountains.

    What "independent Republican groups " in this context REALLY means is "we didn't bother doing a single minute of true journalistic research to find out who they might be, so we had to call them something that wouldn't sound biased."

    October 1, 2010 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  2. Right Leaning Independent

    Sweet!!! Bring on the November rout!!! Obama, Biden and Bill Clinton can campaign throughout the entire country and it will not matter.. The American public have seen the devastating policies implemented by this far left liberal administration and plans to have a mass firing come November!!

    October 1, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  3. Sniffit

    BTW, is this an article about the race or an article about American Crossroads' effort to help the Republicans take control? Most of the article is about Crossroads and the GOP effort...then one little sentence mentions than Manchin has ads, without any mention of their substance...as if the balnket statement "that candidate has ads" isn't non-news because it's such an obvious given.

    October 1, 2010 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  4. King

    You know what! these brain washed people have made their decision and their is nothing obama and the dems can do. the dem have catered and bend over backward too much to keep helping these people. Under constant barage of negativity and obstruction from the gop. Now they are set to reward the obstructionist gop who have the same old policies that ruin our economy. I hope These ungrateful people get what they deserve.

    October 1, 2010 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  5. 33 Days until Socialism dies in the United States

    All the Republicans need to do to win is to keep replaying Obozo saying "the cost of electricity will necessarily sky rocket" along with his failed healthcare debacle. Now you have companies like MacDonalds talking about dropping coverage for 30,000 people! This DemocRAT fools have been a DISASTER for this country. To put another Obozo rubber stamper back into the Senate is lunacy.

    October 1, 2010 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  6. vic, Nashville TN

    Karl Rove helping American crossroads. Karl Rove took the country in wrong direction in 2000 and 2004

    I won’t support any Karl Rove move

    Time for us to keep Karl Rove out DC vote for democrats

    October 1, 2010 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  7. gt

    the folks are mad..... and yea there going to the polls next month....no one is safe this yr ..either party..

    October 1, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  8. vesalius

    Great, the dems are in for an electoral beating in Nov. They can't run fast enough away from Obama and are trying to hide from their unpopular supposed accomplishments even more.

    October 1, 2010 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  9. HankW

    "independent Republican groups" – is that not an oxymoron? (As would be "independent Democratic groups".) I hope the SCOTUS is pleased with the outcome of their misbegotten Citizens United ruling. Drive-by attack ads from anonymously funded front organizations are a giant step backwards in public debate. In fact, since the funding is anonymous, there can be no debate. We have devolved into puerile political vandalism – thank you Karl Rove et al for destroying this country's ability to discuss anything at a level above the grade-school playground. Of course, that suits your funder's purposes very well, since an angry and divided electorate is easy to stampede over the cliff like so many buffalo and keeps that gravy train rolling, rolling, rolling. This is on par with giving smallpox-infested blankets to the natives and will be justly condemned as the historians pick through the rubble of what was once a nation with the motto, "E pluribus unum".

    October 1, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  10. Pete

    Another big Repug CEO taking on the Dems.Are we going to have “Big Business” run our gov right into the ground like Bush,Cheney did for 8 years.Tax break the big business to no end while screwing the middle class like they're trying in Cal. & other states.How much money does those Teabaggin brothers have to throw in to kill this country.Give more tax breaks to Halliburton,Bechtel and the Brown&Roots of this country!!They can fight IRS with their corp lawyers all year,middle class can't,that's why IRS comes after us,the little guy!Throw those CEO 's out the door and give this country back to the “People”.We'll run it from here!!!

    October 1, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |