D.C. Republicans are making the argument that one of the nation’s most popular Democratic governors is just too good for Washington.
In a new ad opposing West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, the National Republican Senatorial Committee highlights the Democrat’s approval ratings in the state but makes the case that the widely admired chief executive will turn into an establishment puppet if he wins the election against Republican businessman John Raese.
In the 30-second spot, flannel-clad locals assert that “Joe’s not bad as governor, but when he’s with Obama … he turns into ‘Washington Joe.’’
“We better keep Joe Manchin right here in West Virginia,” one man in the ad asserts.
No politician aspires to be unpopular, but it’s worth noting that popular governors like Manchin have faced bumps in the past in their efforts to get to Capitol Hill.
Nebraska Gov. Ben Nelson, whose poll numbers were in the 60s, lost his first campaign for the Senate to Chuck Hagel in 1996, and popular Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, a Republican, lost to John Kerry. Iconic North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt lost one of the nastiest Senate races in history when he challenged Republican Jesse Helms in 1984.
Raese himself has given a well-known governor a run for his money before. In 1984, then-two-term Gov. Jay Rockefeller beat Raese by just four points after spending $12 million on the race.
Watch the ad here: