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West Virginia's U.S. Senate Race

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WV-Sen: Raese vs. Byrd

West Virginia’s U.S. Senate Race

In 1984, a young industrialist named John Raese nearly made history in his maiden run for office: Running as an unabashed conservative with campaign assistance from his hero Ronald Reagan, Republican Raese narrowly (52% to 48%) lost a U.S. Senate seat to West Virginia’s most powerful (and easily wealthiest) Democratic politician, two-term Gov. Jay Rockefeller. The first-time candidate almost became the conservatives’ “Cinderella Man” in the year of Reagan’s final triumphant race for office.

Now 56, with a little less hair and a lot more experience, Raese is back and is the Republican nominee against Robert C. Byrd—88 years old, a member of Congress since he entered the House in 1952, and senator since 1958. Byrd, who just became the longest-serving U.S. senator in history, once promised to be “West Virginia’s billion-dollar industry” and he has. Byrd has brought to the state at least two dozen federally funded projects named for him and, as the Washington Post noted, “his memoir details hundreds of his earmarks in loving detail, along with gleeful tales of moving Navy and Coast Guard offices to his landlocked state.”

“Yeah, and it’s all funded by our tax dollars,” says Raese, who owns a statewide radio network, lime kilns and other enterprises, “I come from the business community, and I believe the old story that if you give someone a fish, you feed him for a day but if you give him a job, you feed him for life.” Indeed, for all the largess Byrd has brought to the Mountain State, West Virginia is still ranked 49th in per capita gross state product.

Dismissing Byrd’s tax-funded “relief,” Raese slams the incumbent on the issues of gasoline, taxes and abortion. In addition, Raese drives home his personal causes of regulatory reform to permit greater job creation and replacing the current tax code with a flat tax.

The plainspoken Raese attracts fresh converts to his candidacy at a time when West Virginia has twice given its electoral votes to George W. Bush and elected a Republican House member and state supreme court justice. In many ways, John Raese’s election would complement these past gains—and make him the “Cinderella Man” of 2006.

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John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â? video interviews that appear on HumanEvents.com. Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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