WASHINGTON, D.C. – Joe Manchin, the centrist Democrat who defeated John Raese in a 2010 special election for the U.S. Senate, on Tuesday beat back another try by the Republican to win a full six-year term.
With 41 counties reporting statewide, Manchin won more than 60 percent of the vote versus almost 37 percent for Raese, a Morgantown businessman, according to unofficial results. In Jefferson County, Manchin outpaced Raese 12,146 votes to 8,480.
When the two last faced off, Manchin finished 10 percentage points ahead of Raese. He resigned as governor and headed to Washington to fill the unexpired term of Robert C. Byrd, the 92-year-old conservative Democrat who was Congress’s longest-serving member when he died June 28, 2010.
Manchin, a 65-year-old with a degree from West Virginia University, comes from a political family, with both his father and grandfather serving as mayor of their hometown of Farmington.
Manchin, who was serving his second term as governor when he won the special election to fill out Byrd’s term, first won elected office in 1982.
At 35, he was elected to the House of Delegates and then moved to the state Senate four years later. He served there until 1996, when he ran for the Democratic nomination for governor – finishing second to Kanawha County lawmaker Charlotte Pritt in a large field. That fall, Pritt lost to former Gov. Cecil Underwood. Manchin won a statewide race four years later, becoming Secretary of State.
This was Raese’s fourth statewide campaign. In 2006, Byrd garnered 64 percent of the vote to defeat him and win a record ninth term.
Raese’s closest loss came in his first try at public office, in 1984, when he finished with 48 percent of the vote to 52 percent for then-Gov. Jay Rockefeller amid Ronald Reagan’s landslide re-election to the White House.