"Florida resident John Raese has now made it official -- he's on his fourth attempt to lose a U.S. Senate seat," said West Virginia Democratic Party Chair Larry Puccio. Manchin had $1.6 million in the bank at the end of the third quarter last year, and has yet to reveal his fourth quarter haul. Up until Thursday, he had attracted no challengers. That is not surprising, because he is the most popular politician in the state. A survey conducted by West Virginia based pollster Mark Blankenship in November (Blankenship also polled for Maloney in 2010) showed that a whopping 70 percent of registered voters said Manchin deserved to be reelected. Raese has at least some ability to self-fund, as he put some personal money into the campaign in 2010. In West Virginia, Democrats outnumber Republicans, but Obama isn't well liked at all. Both Manchin and Tomblin have won by successfully distancing themselves from the president and his policies, but neither has run for their current office in a presidential year when Obama will appear on the ballot, something both will have to face this November.
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