The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

October 3, 2012

Third-party candidate defends Manchin

Against Raese’s charges that senator is anti-coal and reliable supporter of Obama

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Republican John Raese’s unrelenting portrayal of incumbent U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin as anti-coal and in bed with an “anti-West Virginia” Obama administration is “ridiculous and absurd” and “a bald-faced lie,” the third-party candidate in the race said Tuesday night.

The Mountain Party’s Bob Henry Baber became an unlikely defender of his Democratic opponent as Raese’s assault wore on, punctuating his point with a profanity at the end of an hour-long debate at Shepherd University — as it was airing live on the college radio station.

Raese demanded an apology, as did at least one member of the audience.

“I apologize for the use of that phrase,” Baber quickly replied. “I will change it to ‘bull crap.”’

Manchin won the endorsement of the West Virginia Coal Association this week. Baber says both he and Raese are too close to coal operators. He dismissed both as “Republicrats” and insisted he’s the only true Democrat in the race, concerned about balancing energy needs with the environment, among other things.

From the opening moments, Raese pounded away at Manchin’s party affiliation and supposed allegiance to President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. He repeatedly invoked a football analogy, accusing Manchin of going to Washington not to play for the Redskins but the “Washington Senators,” with Obama as quarterback.

“Joe’s heart’s in the right place, and we know that,” Raese said. “But the problem is that Joe is on the wrong team.”

Manchin ignored most of the jabs, focusing instead on his record, first as governor and now as a senator, of working across party lines for the greater good.

“The only team I belong to is Team America and Team West Virginia,” he said, declaring himself “the most centrist member” of the Senate.

In their continuing battle to out-love the coal industry, Raese declared that if he’s elected, he will challenge the president. “I think I might be his worst enemy,” he said.

But Manchin said he’s not afraid to fight his own party for the good of his state.

He pointed to lawsuits he filed against the Environmental Protection Agency when it adopted new rules that applied only to Appalachian surface mines and when its actions wrongly intruded on the state’s authority to handle mine-permitting and water- pollution issues. In both cases, a federal judge ruled the EPA overstepped its authority.

“There is a war on coal,” Manchin said, “because they’re treating Appalachia differently.”

West Virginia has no problem complying with federal standards that protect water supplies, he said, but it needs more time to do so.

Both Manchin and Raese said tough new EPA regulations are at least partly to blame for thousands of layoffs across the Appalachian coalfields this year. But while Raese refused to answer a question about whether the industry would still be in decline without the EPA, Manchin also acknowledged the cyclical nature of the business and changing global markets as challenges.

Baber, however, said it shouldn’t surprise anyone that utilities are shutting “antiquated coal-belching power plants” and switching to natural gas. And West Virginia’s mining industry has long been behind its western competition in production.

“It’s in decline not because of the EPA. It’s in decline because Wyoming is kicking our butt,” he said, describing “wide seams that go on for miles” and a state that doesn’t do mountaintop removal mining.

Manchin won a special election in 2010, defeating Raese by 10 percentage points to fill the unexpired term of the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd. He’s now seeking re-election to a full six-year term.

Raese is chairman of the board of West Virginia Radio Corp. and the MetroNews radio network, and chief executive of steel and limestone producer Greer Industries.  

Raese has lost four previous statewide campaigns, including three for the Senate.

Text Only
West Virginia
  • Gee’s move could save Ohio State millions

    Ohio State University expects to save millions of dollars because former president Gordon Gee is giving up part of his retirement package as he becomes president of West Virginia University for the second time.

    April 19, 2014

  • W.Va. AG court filings: Dismiss gun law question

    The attorney general says a court challenge should be dismissed over whether West Virginians can bring guns to city recreational facilities that hold school events.
    Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s filings Thursday argue the city of Charleston shouldn’t receive court guidance on how to implement a state gun law.

    April 18, 2014

  • Energy-state Dems split from Obama

    Scrapping to keep a West Virginia Senate seat Democratic in a state that’s sprinted to the right, Natalie Tennant is counting on her allegiance to the coal industry to separate herself from an unpopular President Barack Obama.
    Her approach reflects common Democratic strategy and tactics this midterm election year in energy-producing states that lean Republican: Sen. Mary Landrieu is vying for a fourth term representing Louisiana; Alaska Sen. Mark Begich is running for re-election for the first time; and Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes wants to replace Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

    April 17, 2014

  • Official: $2M in chemical spill costs reimbursable

    Public agencies and nonprofits that helped after a Jan. 9 chemical leak into the water supply could receive $2 million in reimbursements for their emergency work, a West Virginia homeland security official said.
    Federal and state emergency officials briefed fire departments, paramedics and other government groups Wednesday on how to recoup costs.

    April 17, 2014

  • Manchin urges mines to speak out for coal

    The Democratic senator leading the battle against the White House’s strategy to fight climate change urged the mining industry on Tuesday to speak out about coal’s role in providing affordable, reliable electricity to the country to help combat strict new emissions rules for coal-fired power plants.

    April 16, 2014

  • Many schools already meet new mandate for breakfast

    Many West Virginia public schools have changed the way they serve breakfast to students ahead of a requirement that goes into effect in September.

    April 14, 2014

  • W.Va. grower promotes unmodified feed corn

    Lyle Tabb is hoping that his non-genetically modified corn will take off with farmers who can charge top dollar for “all natural” eggs.
    Genetically modified or GMO corn has greatly simplified the process of getting rid of weeds, but has also substantially increased the amount of a chemical call glyphosate.

    April 13, 2014

  • Geologists link small quakes to fracking

    Geologists in Ohio have for the first time linked earthquakes in a geologic formation deep under the Appalachians to hydraulic fracturing, leading the state to issue new permit conditions Friday in certain areas that are among the nation’s strictest.
    A state investigation of five small tremors last month in the Youngstown area, in the Appalachian foothills, found the injection of sand and water that accompanies hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the Utica shale may have increased pressure on a small, unknown fault, said State Oil & Gas Chief Rick Simmers. He called the link “probable.”

    April 12, 2014

  • Phares looks forward to retirement

    James Phares looked forward to the challenge and opportunity to help make a difference in a state education system under fire when he was hired in late 2012 as West Virginia’s schools superintendent.
    After 18 months, Phares will be stepping down on June 30 — which he said was set long ago as the day at age 61 that he’d walk with his wife into retirement.

    April 11, 2014

  • Teacher planning, abortion ban among W.Va. vetoes

    Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed about 200 bills and nixed eight this year, leaving teachers and abortion opponents unsatisfied.

    April 7, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads