Tuesday September 28, 2010

GOP Leads Democrat in Pro-Life Senate Race for West Virginia

By Peter J. Smith

CHARLESTON, West Virginia, September 28, 2010 ( – In West Virginia two pro-life candidates are battling each other for a U.S. Senate seat that could either deliver a pro-life Democrat to the U.S. Senate or help hand control of the chamber to the GOP and its predominantly pro-life leadership.

The latest polls show GOP candidate John Raese now pulling ahead of popular Democrat Governor Joe Manchin in the November special election to replace the late Democrat Sen. Robert Byrd.

A new Rasmussen survey shows likely West Virginia voters preferring Raese at 48 percent, while only 46 percent say they would support Manchin. Another two percent say they would rather vote for a different candidate, and four percent report they are undecided.

The survey examined 500 likely voters, was conducted on September 27, 2010, and has a +/- 4.5 percent margin of error.

According to the pollster, the solidly Democrat West Virginia is now a toss-up. Rasmussen credits Raese’s Republican insurgency to voters’ dissatisfaction with the national agenda set by President Barack Obama and national party leaders.

Another Rasmussen poll found that 67 percent of West Virginians were in favor of repealing the national health care reform (a.k.a. ObamaCare), another strike against Manchin. Also problematic for the Democrat is a March 15 video uncovered by The Weekly Standard, in which he says he would vote for the Senate version of health care reform.

Manchin made these remarks even before U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) wrung from the president an executive order deal that would place restrictions on federal funding of abortion not included in the Senate bill.

However Manchin is now calling for a partial repeal of Obama’s signature legislation, including abortion-related provisions deemed problematic by the National Right to Life Committee. On a candidate survey for West Virginians for Life, an NRLC affiliate, Manchin said he would vote for full repeal of the bill if there was no way pro-abortion provisions could be entirely removed from the health care law.

Overall Manchin has an excellent pro-life record as governor of the state, and in May signed into law legislation requiring abortionists to offer women the opportunity to view an ultrasound of their unborn baby.

He has received high marks from West Virginians for Life (WVFL), which endorsed him for governor in 2004. WVFL endorsed Manchin in the Democrat Senate primary, and also endorsed his challenger John Raese in the GOP primary.

Manchin’s challenger John Raese has been more up front about his pro-life convictions in the campaign. Raese’s website describes him as a “pro-life conservative” who “believes deeply in the sanctity of life.” The site also lists his opposition to human cloning and federally-funded embryonic stem cell research.

Raese’s campaign also responded to an interview from the Family Policy Council of West Virginia and affirmed that the GOP candidate would vote against the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” vote against military funding of abortion, and would support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

The FPCWV stated they had not heard back from Manchin’s campaign regarding those issues.

Manchin’s website does not list where he stands on social conservative issues.

However, both Raese and Manchin have the confidence of the state’s right to life group in this election. WVFL’s political action committee has endorsed both candidates.

“They are both pro-life, we are going to be happy either way. We’re just going to let the chips fall where they may and let the voter make their own decisions,” said Mary Anne Buchanan, President of WVFL-PAC told

Buchanan said it made sense to endorse both candidates as both Manchin and Raese have been strong supporters of WVFL over a long time, advancing the pro-life cause in West Virginia.

| Send Letter to Editor