CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Republican U.S. Senate Candidate John Raese will launch an ad campaign starting Monday that he said would focus on Democratic rival Joe Manchin's voting record, which he described as "far to the left," and in line with President Obama's position "99 percent of the time."
"We're going to educate West Virginia about Joe Manchin," Raese told a group of supporters gathered at the Kanawha County Republican organization's campaign headquarters in the Charleston Town Center mall on Friday.
"Is he Washington Joe or West Virginia Joe? We're going to spend the next 60 days pointing out his record. I think it will make a turning point in our campaign."
Raese said the end of the Labor Day weekend marks "the true start of the political season. I've got my game legs on. I'm looking forward to debating him."
The Republican senatorial candidate said he has agreed to take part in an Oct. 2 debate in Shepherdstown, but doesn't know whether Manchin will sign on to participate in the event.
Raese said the Nov. 6 election "may be the most important election in the history of the state. We've got to put an end to the 'Coalition of Taking' that's now in control -- taking your money, power and freedom. We want to return those three things to you."
The private sector, Raese said, "is what made this country great, not government, but it's constantly under attack from the EPA, the Corps of Engineers and the government in general."
While Manchin says he takes issue with President Obama on a number of issues, including portions of the president's health-care overhaul, "he had a chance to de-fund 'Obamacare', but he chose not to," Raese said. If elected, Raese said he would support a move to "use the budget reconciliation process to repeal 'Obamacare'."
Raese predicted a last-minute come-from-behind victory over Manchin.
"Not one poll will see us ahead until the one on November 6," he said.Reach Rick Steelhammer at rsteelham...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5169.