For the first time since polling in the race began, Republican businessman John Raese (R) leads Governor Joe Manchin (D) in the West Virigina Senate Race, despite Manchin's continued popularity as governor of that state.
A Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday has Manchin behind businessman John Raese, 43 percent to 46 percent.
The lead of Raese is considered within the poll's 2.6 percent margin of error, but contrasts starkly with the 22-point lead Manchin enjoyed against the conservative in a July survey by R.L. Repass & Partners.
“There are a lot of voters in West Virginia who like Joe Manchin but don’t like the national Democratic party and right now those feelings about Barack Obama and national Democrats are driving their vote intent,” Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, said in a statement.
Manchin has a 59 percent approval rating overall, making him the second most popular governor polled by PPP in the past year. However, 54 percent of voters want the GOP to gain control Congress after the general election, and only 37 percent want Democrats to retain their hold.
In other words, despite being an apparently effective and popular governor, Joe Manchin's Democrat label is scaring off the people of West Virigina. The people of that state apparently fear that Manchin will fall prey to the same forces that caused other so-called "Blue Dog" Democrats to vote for Cap & Trade and the Health Care Takeover.
You can send Raese some support here.
This whole trend falls in-line with reports by Capitol Hill correspondent Jamie Dupree Tuesday morning on syndicated radio that Democrats fear the "D" label at the end of their name will cost them elections due to the unpopularity of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Being a Democrat during the 2010 election is almost a toxic stain. The Democrats are reeling from the Tea Parties and the upstart, anti-establishment movement in the GOP, with seemingly no answer to it.
Meanwhile, even as Manchin garnered the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (a coup endorsement, since the Chamber has opposed much of the Obama agenda), FreedomWorks PAC gave its endorsement to Raese, citing Raese's committment to smaller, less intrusive government and push for spending controls. Raese also has strong conservative positions on abortion and illegal immigration and touts his "Lifetime NRA Member" status on every page of his campaign website.
In many ways, Manchin appears to be the "real deal" as a Blue Dog. In fact, he would probably be one of if not the most conservative Democrat in the Senate if he won the eleciton. Still, while On The Issues has very little actually recorded on Governor Manchin's positions (except for a small number of largely liberal positions), his own website reveals some true-blue liberalism:
- The governor also fought for and signed the Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio Act, which requires 25 percent of the state’s energy from alternative or renewable energy sources by 2025. (read: Would support Cap & Trade)
- The governor has committed more than $1.8 billion toward unfunded pensions and state debt. (read: Would support a "bailout" for union pensions)
- The governor pledge to place a Hot and Cold Meal Truck in every county and this was completed in 2010 (read: Expand committment to Welfare).
- More than $316 million has been added to seniors services since the governor has entered office. (read: Panders to constituent groups and special interests)
(See John Raese's more complete positions here)
Further, Governor Manchin lists no action items he would take once in the Senate on his website. He has no platform for what he will do, only a listing of what he's done in the past.
A good resume is one thing, but a resume isn't everything. In any job interview the candidate must explain to their employer (in this case, the people of West Virginia) what he or she will do in the future. Joe Manchin doesn't cover this.
I'm not personally convinced that John Raese is a strong conservative who will buck the GOP establishment like Sharon Angle, Joe Miller or Nikki Haley. I am convinced that he'll be a much stronger voice for conservatism than Joe Manchin and an opponent to the Democrat agenda on Capitol Hill.