EDITORIAL: Raese Campaigns Like a Happy Conservative Warrior Across West Virginia

HNN Staff
John Raese with Paul Light at Monroe County Lincoln Day
John Raese with Paul Light at Monroe County Lincoln Day

Someone recently said that it gives them hope for West Virginia just to see John Raese out politicking again across the state.  The context of this remark was the outright brutality showed by Joe Manchin towards Raese and his family back in 2010, especially towards the end of the race.

Yet there stands Raese, smiling for the camera, at recent 2012 events in counties as far-flung as Jefferson, Monroe, Putnam, and Upshur.  Why is Raese smiling?  Does he just like the hunt of politics or does he know something?

We suspect it's a bit of both.  Raese has always been in his element out on the campaign trail, calling it like he sees it when it comes to private sector job creation, the need for a curbed federal government, less taxes, and a lower federal debt.   But in 2010, almost without warning, something interesting happened: about halfway through the campaign, Raese's numbers soared past Manchin's by seven points.  That was the best Raese had done since his race against Jay Rockefeller in 1984.

In short, Raese's message was connecting in a profound way with the electorate in West Virginia, and the crowds that came out to support Raese and his wife, Liz, at venues like the Charleston Haddad Riverfront Park event numbered in the thousands.   John Raese was hitting his stride. 

Republicans in West Virginia had not experienced that level of excitement for a statewide candidate since George W. Bush arrived in Charleston for the first time as a Presidential candidate.

Due to Manchin's onslaught of negative attack ads, Raese lost that contest in 2010.  But he did manage to prove that West Virginians were increasingly ready to take a long, hard look at their choices instead of taking whatever cream of wheat the State Democratic Party served up for them, expecting them to go along one more time.   Now there are some new facts on the political horizon:

Fact:  The number of registered Independents has more than doubled in counties like Kanawha in the past ten years.  Kanawha alone now has over 23,000 such Independents;

Fact:  The Eastern Panhandle has experienced the largest number of new residents than any other section in the state in the past decade, and those voters don't owe anybody anything;

Fact:  Even in traditional Democratic strongholds like Raleigh County, Republican candidates and their conservative values are given a full look, especially during Presidential Election years.

Fact:  The Republican Party's nominee for President has won West Virginia in the last three Presidential Elections.  

John Raese knows all these facts.  Give him credit:  for a man who is already busy managing several family businesses and despite having no primary opponent, Raese has been criss-crossing the state in his campaign van like a bat out of hell ever since filing in January.  His last stop was in Monroe County, in the southeast corner of the state, a place where they still have a Confederate soldier's monument in a beautiful field outside of town.

Could a Northern West Virginia Republican like John Raese connect with the conservatives down in Monroe?  Take a look at the picture, and you be the judge.




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