CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- During his unsuccessful 2006 race to unseat Sen. Robert C. Byrd, Morgantown businessman John Raese was questioned about whether he was an official resident of West Virginia or Florida.
Those same questions are coming up again during Raese's current race against Gov. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, for the late Sen. Byrd's seat.
Raese's campaign spokesman Kevin McLaughlin said on Wednesday, "John Raese is a West Virginia resident. Period. He pays income and property taxes there and any attempts to claim otherwise are acts of desperation by a hopelessly listing campaign."
Elizabeth S. Raese, John's wife, is an official resident of Palm Springs, Fla., where their two daughters have attended school.
Earlier this week, Chris Matthews said on MSNBC's "Hardball" that "John Raese is running for Senate against Joe Manchin, the governor of West Virginia, but there's some question about whether Raese actually lives there. The law says you have to be a permanent resident of the state by Election Day, but Raese owns homes in Florida, Colorado and West Virginia....
"He and his wife took a [$50,000] tax exemption on the Florida home. An exemption only available to permanent residents of Florida," Matthews said. "Raese is trying to explain that it's his wife, not him, who got the exemption."
Questions also have been raised about whether John Raese files personal income tax returns in West Virginia, since Florida does not require its official residents to pay any personal income taxes at all.
(The West Virginia Department of Tax and Revenue does not release any information about individual taxpayers.)
McLaughlin declined to respond to several specific questions about Raese's tax filings, including: