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Did Rush Limbaugh Accidentally Help Democrats in the West Virginia Senate Race?

John Raese
West Virginia Senate Republican candidate John Raese speaks with the media in Morgantown, W.Va. AP

While endorsing West Virginia Republican Senate candidate John Raese yesterday, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh offered up a detail that the Republican candidate might have preferred to keep quiet: "I happen to know John Raese," Limbaugh said on his radio show. "He is a part-time resident here in Palm Beach and he has a locker right across the, right across the bench from me at a prominent local club. I've never played golf with him, but I've met him."

Limbaugh's comments about the candidate's part-time Florida residency (and membership to a "prominent local club") did the candidate no favors - and in fact played directly into the Democratic strategy of painting Raese as a wealthy outsider. Just yesterday, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) issued a statement attacking the candidate as an out-of-touch carpetbagger who "just doesn't understand West Virginia values."

"John Raese's heart, family, and house are in Florida, but his Senate bid is in West Virginia," said DSCC's Eric Schultz, in the statement. He went on to wonder whether Raese would cheer the Florida or West Virginia team in a college football game.

According to the Times West Virginian, Raese owns homes in West Virginia, Colorado, and Florida. He has been targeted by Democrats for his wealth, and the DSCC specifically attacked the "peach colored marble driveway" leading to the Republican's 7,000 square foot Florida home.

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Raese owns a West Virginia mining company, a steel fabricating business and a limestone company, according to the Times West Virginian. He is also part owner of a statewide radio network and Morgantown newspaper.

Recent polls, meanwhile, suggest that West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin's efforts to distance himself from his Washington counterparts are beginning to pay off. Fighting anti-Obama sentiment in the region, the two-term West Virginia governor has recently gone on an anti-establishment campaign tour that included the release of a campaign ad in which he shot the cap and trade bill with a gun. He has also hosted an event with former President Bill Clinton and slammed Republicans for casting purposefully "hicky" actors in an attack advertisement against him.

Manchin may be experiencing a slight uptick in the polls as a result. After weeks of consistently trailing Raese, Public Policy Polling (a Democratic firm that conducts automated polls) put Manchin ahead by three points. A CNN/Time poll released this week shows the candidates in a dead heat. A new study released by Marshall University, which was conducted by an organization that does polling for Democrats, gave Manchin a ten-point lead over Raese. The Marshall University poll showed Manchin leading Raese at 48 to 38 percent, with 12 percent of respondents undecided.

Latest News on the West Virginia Senate Race

Lucy Madison
Lucy Madison is a political reporter for You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.
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