The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is yanking its latest TV ad in support of Republican businessman John Raese off the air in West Virginia's Senate contest after a casting call for the spot sought actors with a "hicky, blue-collar look."

According to a Republican source, the ad, which paints West Virginia Gov. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinBiden dispatches Cabinet members to sell infrastructure plan On The Money: Treasury creates hub to fight climate change | Manchin throws support behind union-backed PRO Act | Consumer bureau rolls out rule to bolster CDC eviction ban Miners union to back Biden on green energy if it retains jobs MORE (D) as a pawn of President Obama, will be taken down. The video has already been removed from YouTube.  

Once the casting directive for the ad was reported by Politico, the Manchin campaign fired off an angry statement demanding an apology and accusing Raese and national Republicans of insulting West Virginia voters. 


“John Raese and his special-interest friends have insulted the people of West Virginia and need to immediately apologize," Manchin said in a statement. "Not only have they been spending millions to try and buy this election with lies and distortions, we can now see once and for all what he and his friends really think of West Virginia and our people. It’s offensive and it only proves that John Raese has spent too much time in the state of Florida, living in his Palm Beach mansion, and doesn’t know, understand or respect the great people of this state, and what we stand for."

The NRSC is pushing back, claiming that it had nothing to do with the language that was used in the casting call.

“Contrary to the false headline by Politico, no one at the NRSC, or associated with the NRSC, had anything to do with the language used in this casting call," NRSC communications director Brian Walsh said in a statement. "We do not support it. But we’re not going to be lectured by a governor who refuses to tell the people of West Virginia why he’s flip-flopped on ObamaCare or why his office is under investigation by the Department of Justice."  

In an e-mail provided to The Hill from a Republican source, a production manager at Jamestown Associates, the firm that produced the ad, requests "2 featured characters that will be talking to each other at a diner, conversation back and forth." 

The e-mail, which was sent to a talent agency tasked with finding actors for the spot, doesn't use the controversial language being criticized by Manchin and national Dems. Here's what the e-mail asks for:


"One male. Age about 55. Looking for someone to represent the middle of the country … Ohio, Pittsburgh, West Virginia area ... Middle class ... One male. Age about 45. Middle class. Again, should represent the Ohio, Pittsburgh, West Virginia area of the country ... 5 background characters: Mother, Child, Elderly couple, 20’s-ish male." 

It's certainly not uncommon for actors to be used in the filming of political ads, but the haste with which Republicans are pulling this spot suggests they fear the attention and controversy it has already generated could blunt Raese's momentum. 

The latest Rasmussen poll in the race shows the Republican leading Manchin by six points in a race that was supposed to be an easy road for the popular governor.