He’s not the challenger state and national Republicans were hoping for, but West Virginia businessman John Raese officially filed Thursday to run for Senate against Gov. Joe Manchin (D) in this fall’s special election.
Raese challenged the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D) in 2006, losing by a wide margin. Byrd was reelected with 64 percent of the vote.
His announcement comes a day after Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R) declined to run for the seat. Capito was being courted by the National Republican Senatorial Committee and was widely seen as the party’s best shot at defeating Manchin.
A former chairman of the state Republican Party, the one thing Raese does have going for him is an ability to spend some of his own cash on a Senate bid. Raese heads Charleston-based Greer Industries and owns the state’s Dominion Post newspaper and West Virginia Radio Corp., according to the Charleston Gazette.
The Gazette also reports that state Sen. Clark Barnes (R) is considering getting in the race.
On Wednesday, Manchin got two Democratic primary challengers, though neither appear to pose a serious threat.