CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Full-page advertisements in Charleston newspapers Wednesday critical of Gov. Joe Manchin's possible run for the U.S. Senate are just the first of a series the state Republican Party plans to publish, Chairman Doug McKinney said.
"This is just the first in what we anticipate will be a series," McKinney said. "We think these are questions the governor needs to answer if he wants to run for the Senate."
The ads attempt to link Manchin with President Obama, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Barbara Boxer on issues such as the cap and trade bill and federal health care legislation, and ask Manchin: "Why are you so eager to quit your job and stand with the liberal Washington Democrats?"
"We have to start campaigning now if we want to send a Republican back to the U.S. Senate for the first time in 50 years," McKinney said of the ad campaign.
He said the ads are being paid for out of a "sizeable contribution" from the National Republican Senatorial Committee - the political campaign arm of U.S. Senate Republicans.
On Tuesday, the NRSC sent letters to the governor's office requesting under the Freedom of Information Act a wide variety of documents and information from Manchin, including all phone records, all e-mails, and all expenses and travel reports for the past 51/2 years in office.
State Democratic Party Executive Director Derek Scarbro said Wednesday he found the GOP ad "amusing."
"These ads show they're scared of Gov. Manchin being on the ballot," he said of the pending special election for Sen. Robert C. Byrd's unexpired term in the Senate.
He said it is laughable for Republicans to imply that Manchin supports cap and trade, which effectively would amount to an additional tax on coal-fired power plants.
Scarbro said Manchin has been consistent and adamant in his opposition to the cap and trade bill.
Manchin most recently spoke out against it at a speech Monday to the Charleston Rotary Club, when he stated that cap and trade "doesn't make any sense to me at all."
He added, "We just can't have all this self-inflicted economic pain."