This article originally provided by The Charleston Gazette

July 21, 2006

Republican Raese raises funds in-state

By Tom Searls
Staff writer

So far, the money to defeat U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd has not been rolling into West Virginia from out of state.

But Republican Senate nominee John Raese said Thursday that fundraising is “going pretty good in the state of West Virginia right now.”

Some political observers believed that any opponent of Byrd’s would draw significant financial support from national Republican donors. So far, that has not been the case.

In the latest reporting period, Raese’s campaign reported it raised $239,525, with $180,525 from individuals and $59,000 from political action committees. He loaned his campaign $475,000.

For the entire campaign period, the multi-millionaire businessman has raised $417,349 and loaned the effort $900,000 of his own money.

By contrast, Democrat Byrd, running for an all-time record ninth six-year term, raised $481,000 in the last reporting period. Byrd has not loaned his campaign any money and had more than $2.5 million cash-on-hand.

Both men spent slightly more than $650,000 during the last reporting period, but Raese had $183,644 in cash-on-hand.

“I don’t think I quite have the name ID [Byrd] has, but he’s helping me,” Raese said, noting Byrd has mentioned his name in ads. That’s something he calls a compliment.

Ending three days of appearances in the Charleston-Huntington area Thursday, Raese has been concentrating on small dinners with five or six people for his fundraising effort. “I think that’s going to be very effective for me,” he said.

Capito fundraiser

He hasn’t held any large fundraising affairs yet, though he initially had one set for July 28 in Charleston, but canceled that to help accommodate President Bush’s fund-raising visit for Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., set for next week.

Democratic Internet political blogs have said Capito snubbed Raese and did not invite him to the Bush fundraiser, but Raese said he did get a phone call from her campaign asking for “$2,100 from me and $2,100 from Liz” to attend. Liz is Raese’s wife, Morgantown native Elizabeth Raese.

Raese declined to endorse Capito for Congress in 2000 and has been critical of her father, former GOP Gov. Arch A. Moore Jr., who served time in prison for corruption charges.

Raese said he and his wife have other functions to attend and will miss the president. He called the president’s visit “a very wonderful thing for [Capito].”

Circling throughout West Virginia, Raese believes people have yet to get interested in the November elections, making it difficult for the former state GOP chairman to get a read on the race.

“It’s hard to say right now,” he said. “I’ve seen some areas where I’m doing pretty well and others not.”

That could change soon. He plans to launch newspaper advertisements in Charleston before month’s end and follow that up with television in August. “I think things are going to take off,” he said.

‘A contrast’

Always a maverick, Raese plans to run the campaign on his ideas and what he considers important for West Virginians, not what Washington, D.C., political consultants tell candidates to say. That will include comparing Byrd’s voting record with his own philosophies.

“I think it’s quite a contrast,” he said.

He figures by sometime in August he’ll have a good idea how the campaign is progressing.

“We’re going to come pretty hard and there’ll be a race,” he said. “Now, whether that race has any traction, we’ll find out real quick.”

To contact staff writer Tom Searls, use e-mail or call 348-5192.

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