In a similar tone, State Democratic Party Chairman Larry Puccio issued a statement Thursday denouncing Raese.
"Comparing a smoking ban to the murder of six million Jews is shockingly insensitive and diminishes the memory of those killed in the Holocaust. John Raese's comments and his refusal to apologize shows no understanding of history and no respect. I feel certain that after Mr. Raese has time to think about it, he will apologize," Puccio said.
Sen. Joe Manchin, who defeated Raese in a 2010 race and will likely face him in November's general election, would not comment on the matter Thursday.
Raese told the Gazette he believes the video was a work of a "tracker" retained by Manchin's re-election campaign to record his speeches and public comments.
Raese said he stands by his statements in the video.
"If they're going to be taking personal freedoms, personal choices from us, I'll be happy to stand up and speak out," he said.
He said that during the same speech, he also equated the mandated "smoke-free" signs with signs featuring a blue eagle that U.S. businesses participating in the National Recovery Act in the 1930s were required to display. Raese said that went unmentioned in the media coverage.
Raese said he also discussed the historical context of anti-smoking regulations in Nazi Germany, but said those comments were not included in the video.
He said he was surprised by all the uproar.
"When I think of all the issues that affect West Virginia, I don't understand how this gets on the Richter scale," he said.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.