While Republican legislative candidates like myself are busy meeting and greeting our voters throughout West Virginia, we still read our favorite newspapers whenever possible. I have read with interest Jake Stump’s story in the Charleston Daily Mail, “Raese Reruns Reagan Tape,” and have come away in disbelief at the behavior of U.S. Senate candidate Hiram Lewis.
For several months, I ran as a Republican U.S. Senate candidate, too, just like Lewis. After John Raese got in the contest, I believed that Raese was in a better position to advance the issues we all were expounding: concern about eminent domain abuse, the lack of a growing private sector, less taxes, and a strong national defense.
We were all Reaganites—and my reasoning was that John Raese could bring Reagan’s spirit to the race against Sen. Robert Byrd (D.-W.Va.) better than anyone. Raese has done so in this race already—never making it personal with a fellow Republican U.S. Senate candidate, always sticking to the important issues. John Raese has taken the high road in order to keep the Republican Party together as we head into the summer and fall campaign season.
But Hiram Lewis—in his desperate fourth statewide candidacy, none of which have come home winners—is seemingly incapable of talking up any important issue in detail. Moreover, every time he speaks now, it’s nothing but criticism for Raese—yet no meaty issues for the public to chew on.
Most recently, he has somehow decided—unilaterally—that John Raese should not be proud of his endorsement from President Reagan in Raese’s close 1984 U.S. Senate race against Rockefeller. Everyone I know, other than Lewis, would be understandably proud of such a moment!
That moment in 1984, with John Raese and President Reagan on the stage together in Parkersburg is more real and more meaningful than all of Hiram Lewis’s little “photo ops” with famous people he has put on his campaign website. Lewis wants you to believe that he is close friends with the Bushes, even saying in a press release lately that he has President Bush’s endorsement. But he doesn’t. Bush has done nothing of the sort. It’s a fantasy.
But Raese really did have Reagan’s back in 1984. Raese’s credentials for Republican U.S. Senate nominee are real and substantial, while Lewis’s were drive-by snapshots, fooling nobody but Lewis himself.
When we all learned that John Raese was getting in the race, we all had different reactions. After some reflection, I got out and found that Monongalia County had need of some Reaganism on the ballot. Rick Snuffer and Zane Lawhorn, among others, stayed in the race but have stuck to their issues and kept it above the belt.
Hiram Lewis, meanwhile, has shown himself to be both petty and unimaginative when it comes to selling whatever issues he’s selling.
I have great confidence that the voters of West Virginia will be able to see through Lewis’s shallow campaign, one that offers little but personal attacks.
The true Reaganite here is John Raese, who has stuck to his guns without having to fire them in others’ faces every day. Raese, like Reagan, is a spirited political warrior—but also a true gentleman and successful businessman.
What we may have here in Lewis’s unwarranted, personal attacks on Raese is a simple case of jealousy. And that’s not leadership.