Manchin, Raese face off for Senate again - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Manchin, Raese face off for Senate again

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Sen. Joe Manchin Sen. Joe Manchin
John Raese John Raese

And so they meet again.

Incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin will face off for his Senate seat with Republican businessman John Raese one more time.

Raese was unopposed in Tuesday's primary election, and the Associated Press declared Manchin as the victor in his primary race against former Monongalia County legislator Sheirl Fletcher shortly after 9 p.m. With 11 percent of precincts reporting, Manchin had earned 32,935 votes, or 77 percent, compared to Fletcher's 9,963 votes, or 23 percent.

Manchin said early in the vote counts Tuesday evening that he is still the same candidate he has always been.

"The people of West Virginia know that I always have and I always will stand up for our state, our families and common sense," he said.

Fletcher, too, was no stranger to the race for Senate.

She ran in the 2010 special primary election for the late Robert C. Byrd's Senate seat and received 9,108 votes to Raese's 38,568 votes and Manchin's 68,827.

In the 2010 special general election, Manchin received 53 percent of the vote and Raese received 43 percent of the vote for the U.S. Senate.

Fletcher said she spent most of Tuesday calling and emailing her thanks to campaign supporters, and that she believes in the democratic process.

"The voters have made their voices heard, so I support the party," Fletcher said. "I support the ticket, and I wish Sen. Manchin all the best.

"We're a party with a big umbrella, and we pride ourselves in being diversified, but when it's all said and done, we all join together and we will fight on for the cause that we have in November."

Fletcher, a former employee of Consol Energy, owns her own environmental consulting firm. She lost to U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., in a 2008 bid for the U.S. Senate, and served two terms in the House of Delegates as a Republican in 1998 and 2000.

Manchin has come under fire for his party loyalty. He recently said he was not sure who would get his vote for president, and Manchin lost his long-time endorsement from West Virginians for Life because of his vote against cutting funding for Planned Parenthood and the federal health care overhaul.

Manchin, a native of Farmington, was elected to the House of Delegates in 1982, then the Senate in 1986 where he stayed for 10 years. He lost to Charlotte Pritt in the democratic primary for governor in 1996, and in 2000, he was elected Secretary of State of West Virginia. In 2004, Manchin was elected governor, and resigned his seat in 2010 to run for U.S. Senate after Byrd's death.

Raese will face his share of detractors. He has announced support for eliminating the federal minimum wage, the Department of Education, the Department of Education and the Internal Revenue Service.

His camp did not have many comments to make Tuesday night, saying the campaign is excited for the race in November, and a repeat of Raese's comment when he filed for office, that he has "a lot of unfinished business."

This will mark Raese's fourth attempt at occupying the U.S. Senate. He lost to Rockefeller in 1984, then against Byrd in 2006. He lost to Manchin in the 2010 special and general elections.

Raese is president and chief executive officer of Greer Industries, a steel and limestone producer, The Dominion Post and West Virginia Radio Corp.