Senate races

Senate races

Manchin counters Palin effort with Bill Clinton visit

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin is countering his GOP opponent's visit from Sarah Palin with one from former President Bill Clinton.

Manchin's campaign announced the visit on Saturday, the same day the former Alaska Governor will rally with Republican businesman John Raese.

Clinton will headline a rally for Manchin the day before Election Day. It will be the second campaign visit Clinton has made for Manchin, who has worked to distance himself from the president and the Democratic leadership in Washington.

The popular governor is in a surprisngly tight race with Raese, who has hammered him in campaign ads as a rubberstamp for President Obama and Washington Democrats.

The latest Rasmussen poll in the race puts Manchin ahead by just three.

"The Governor is honored that his friend President Bill Clinton will join him again on the campaign trail,” said Manchin campaign spokeswoman Lara Ramsburg in a statement. “President Clinton connects with West Virginians, and this is truly a great way to ramp up the campaign heading into Election Day. We invite all West Virginians to join us.”


Palin to campaign for Raese in W.Va.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will join rocker Ted Nugent in Charleston, West Virginia Saturday to headline a campaign rally for Republican businessman John Raese.

The Republican's campaign announced late Friday that Palin and husband Todd will join the rally, previously scheduled with Nugent. 

Raese is in a dead heat with Gov. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) ahead of Tuesday, with the latest numbers from Rasmussen putting the Democrat ahead by just three percentage points. 

Raese held a series of campaign events in southern West Virginia Friday alongside Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who said Raese is the key to the GOP retaking the majority in the Senate Tuesday.  


W.Va. Senate nominee Raese says Dem attacks are 'pretty pathetic'

GILBERT, W.Va. — In the stretch run of West Virginia's race for the Senate, Republican John Raese is taking fire for his south Florida home and his wealth, which Gov. Joe Manchin (D) and national Democrats are using to portray him as an out-of-touch millionaire.

One radio spot on high rotation here in southern West Virginia hits the Republican for spending too much time at his Palm Beach property.

The spot, which was funded by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, notes that Raese's Florida driveway "is paved with marble … pink marble."

Democrats are also highlighting the approval Raese won Thursday from officials in Palm Beach to build a large conservatory on his property.  

"If that's all they got, it's pretty pathetic," Raese told The Ballot Box after a meet-and-greet with voters in southern West Virginia on Friday. The Republican dismissed the ads run by the DSCC in the state and said the persistent attacks are not what West Virginia voters are focused on.

"People in this country shouldn't be penalized for success, and people in this country want a better senator than what Joe Manchin is going to be," said Raese. "We talk about the issues, from ObamaCare to cap-and-trade to stimulus, and Joe Manchin and the Democrats talk about driveways."


West Virginia voters torn between liking Manchin, disliking Democrats

GILBERT, W.Va. — There's a thin line between Democrats and Republicans in this state, and several voters are torn over whom to pick as their next senator.

Denver Stacy is a good example.

For all intents and purposes, Stacy is a Republican, but he said he registered as a Democrat "just so I'd have someone to vote for here in Mingo County."

He said deciding whom to vote for in Tuesday's Senate contest was "the hardest decision I've ever had to make."  

"I've always supported Joe Manchin, and he's a good family friend," Stacy said. "But this isn't about Joe. It's about Obama and his policies. It's about [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid [D-Nev.]."

Manchin has been battling his party's unpopularity. Manchin was reelected governor with 70 percent, but the president is highly unpopular among the state's voters.


Sen. Vitter refused to say whether 'serious sin' broke the law

Louisiana Sen. David Vitter (R) was asked to explain his "serious sin" during a debate with Democratic challenger Charlie Melancon Thursday night.

It was the second debate of the campaign, but the first time Vitter has taken questions from reporters about his infamous confession.

Vitter's telephone number appeared in the phone records of the "D.C. Madam" prostitution ring in 2007. The calls dated from before his run for Senate in 2004. He issued a statement apologizing for committing a "serious sin," but never elaborated.

"Greg, I’ll be honest with you," Vitter said to WAFB television reporter Greg Meriwether, "I think Louisiana citizens all around the state heard me, and I think they understood me. They understood what I was saying."

He said he got an "outpouring" of prayers, which he called "humbling."

Vitter was asked if his "serious sin" broke the law. 

"You can ask those questions, you can look back 10 years, you can stay fixated on that — my job, I believe, is to look forward," he said.

The questions didn't stop.

"You may not like the answer I’ve given you," the senator added. Vitter was offered the opportunity to say yes or no on the question of whether he broke the law. "I'm not going to take that opportunity," he said, "because I think the people of Louisiana have understood exactly what I said to them."

Melancon accused Vitter of lying.

"Mr. Vitter has a problem with the truth," he said. "You just heard it. He would not admit that he lied, that he broke the law."

During the hour-long debate, both candidates took questions from a panel of reporters on issues ranging from immigration reform to the BP oil spill. It was their final meeting before Election Day on Nov. 2. 


O'Donnell cuts into Coons's lead in Del. Senate race

The Delaware GOP Senate nominee has nearly halved the lead Democratic rival Chris Coons holds over her in the First State's widely-watched Senate race, a poll released Friday shows.

In a Monmouth University poll, Coons now leads O'Donnell 51-41 percent, whereas two weeks ago, the New Castle County executive led the conservative activist 57-38 percent.

{mosads}The poll indicates that the Delaware race could have a closer result on Election Day than many elections analysts have predicted over the past few weeks.

The Delaware race drew widespread national attention after O'Donnell upset nine-term centrist Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) in the GOP primary. Before her win, GOP strategists viewed the race for Vice President Joe Biden's old Senate seat as a prime pickup opportunity that could help the party take control of the upper chamber.

But O'Donnell, who has run for Senate twice in the past, was seen as a weaker candidate than Castle. She struggled to get financial assistance from national Republicans, though Senate GOP Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) is expected to campaign for her this weekend. 

"While Coons still has the advantage, it has to be uncomfortable knowing that O’Donnell was able to shave 9 points off his lead in just two weeks. The interesting thing is that while her vote total has risen, the majority of Delaware voters still say she is unqualified for the post," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. 

But even with the Monmouth poll, the Real Clear Politics polling average still shows Coons with a 15.8 percent lead on O'Donnell.

The poll was conducted before an anonymous posting on the gossip website Gawker that detailed an alleged sexual encounter O'Donnell had with a man three years ago after she lost her first bid to become senator. The O'Donnell campaign condemned the post as "just another example of the sexism and slander," pointing to criticism from the women's group NOW and some in the media. It also hit at Coons for not condemning the story.

Likely voters' favorability ratings of O'Donnell are still low in the Monmouth poll, but they are improved from two weeks ago. The survey shows that 34 percent of likely voters view the Republican as favorable opposed to 51 percent who say view her unfavorably. Two weeks ago the gap was at 31-58.

She has also made up ground among independent voters: two weeks ago she trailed Coons 51-41 percent in the key voting bloc, but this week the poll shows her leading 47-42 percent.

Monmouth surveyed 1,171 likely voters by phone from Oct. 25-27. The poll has a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.