Candidate Shoots Hole in Typical Politics

Political ironies abound in many states. One example is West Virginia, where the Democratic governor running for a U.S. Senate seat is"taking aim" at the White House, health care reform and cap and trade. Longtime election traditions may see a change on Election Day.

If there’s any doubt that West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin is trying hard to convince voters that he’s not a typical Democrat, just look at the latest ad from his Senate campaign…

Manchin is doing everything he can to remind voters that he’s a conservative Democrat who cares about the issues they do, even as Mr. Raese tries to paint him as a “rubber stamp” for President Obama, who is deeply unpopular in the state. Manchin was expected to coast to victory, and in July had a 16-point lead in the polls. But anger against Mr. Obama seems largely responsible for his precipitous drop in popularity.

Still, Manchin was handed a gift of sorts in a Raese ad that aired last week. In it, West Virginia voters are shown saying that Manchin should “stay right here in West Virginia.” Except that the men turned out to be Philadelphia actors who answered a casting call for actors with a “hicky, blue collars look” and encouraged them to wear “John Deer” hats.

Raese’s campaign pulled the ad and pointed out that the casting company, not the campaign, was responsible for the wording – and that ads from both parties often use hired actors – but Manchin has lost no time highlighting the fumble in an ad of his own.

“John Raese thinks we’re hicks,” his spot says, adding that Raese moved his family to Florida “to avoid paying West Virginia taxes" and that, "obviously, we’re not good enough for him.”