October 18th, 2010
12:33 PM ET
12 years ago

Four candidates to share stage in West Virginia showdown

(CNN) - Four candidates will be on the stage in West Virginia Monday night for the first and possibly only debate in the battle for an open Senate seat in that Democrats have controlled for over half a century.

The debate, in Morgantown, West Virginia includes Gov. Joe Manchin, the Democrat's nominee, businessman John Raese, the Republican nominee, Jess Johnson of the Mountain Party and Jesse Becker of the Constitution Party. A crowded stage with four candidates would seem to help Manchin, a popular two-term governor.

"Manchin isn't the incumbent, but he's the de-facto incumbent - the 800 pound gorilla in the race. Anytime the anti-Manchin/anti-Obama/anti-Pelosi vote divides, it helps Manchin, says Stuart Rothenberg, editor and publisher of the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report.

The winner of the special election in November will fill out 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.

A CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation poll released last Wednesday indicated that Manchin and Raese were dead even at 44 percent among likely voters. Other recent polls also indicated a close contest.

But a Marshall University poll released Friday suggested a ten point advantage for Manchin. The Marshall University survey was conducted by Orion Strategies, a public relations, political consulting and advertising business founded and owned by Curtis Wilkerson, who presently, and has in the past, advised and assisted Democratic candidates in the state. Wilkerson tells CNN that while he does assist Democratic candidates, his organization's polls conducted for West Virginia universities, colleges, and media outlets are non-partisan.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN

Filed under: 2010 • West Virginia
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Why are Rush and his Mafia in hiding all the time?

    Poor Rush,the people of West Virginia are much smarter than him and his dittobrains,hahaha

    October 18, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. stufthis

    I am not sure why people in West Virginia would think that electing a person from Florida, Raese, would be in their best interests. In Florida. we have elected a person to congress who lives in California with Mary Bono, and I can only say, Mack is out of touch with the retired veterans, those on social security, and those who have lost their jobs in the housing crisis.

    October 18, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  3. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    Don't quite know what to think about Manchin. He is running as hard as he can away from Obama, which is very smart, but he is still running as a Democrat, which would be fine except the Democrat liberals have infested the party and driven out all of the good democrats. Is he trying to restore sanity to the organization or just trying to get elected?

    October 18, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |