Businessman John Raese enters Byrd-seat race with tacky joke about Italians

The newest GOP candidate compares Gov. Joe Manchin to Tony Soprano

Topics: 2010 Elections, War Room, Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., U.S. Senate,

Businessman John Raese enters Byrd-seat race with tacky joke about Italians** FILE ** Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, John Raese, left, accompanied by his wife Liz, outlines his platform for the Republican party nomination from his campaign office in Charleston, W.Va., Friday, April 7, 2006. Raese preaches against taxes, government regulation and withdrawing from Iraq, a message that helped him rise above a large Republican field in the May primary. But the wealthy Morgantown media owner and industrialist has faced an uphill battle in spreading his gospel among the Democratic base of his general election opponent, incumbent Sen. Robert C. Byrd. (AP Photo/Bob Bird, File)(Credit: Bob Bird)

Even after state lawmakers passed a law allowing her to run for the U.S. Senate while also running to keep her House seat, Shelley Moore Capito, the best GOP hope for taking Robert Byrd’s Senate seat, has decided not to run. So West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin will probably serve out the remainder of Byrd’s term. Unless wealthy industrialist John Raese gets his way!

Raese has run for Senate twice before. He almost knocked off Jay Rockefeller in 1984, and despite spending $2.2 million of his own money, he was destroyed by Byrd in 2006. Raese’s family owns Greer Industries, a diverse company involved in asphalt, limestone and, of course, media. Greer publishes the Dominion Post newspaper in Morgantown, W.Va., and owns 19 radio stations across the state. It was on one of those stations that Raese announced his candidacy, by making two stupid jokes:

He also compared Manchin, of Italian and Czech ancestry, to fictional Mafia boss Tony Sopranao from the HBO TV series. He referred as well to Sen. Carte Goodwin, Manchin’s temporary appointee to the Byrd seat pending the special election, to “Carte Blanche.”

According to Raese, questionable jokes concerning the ethnic background of one of his opponents are just examples of his “quirky sense of humor.”



Another example, perhaps, was this classic newspaper ad from his 2006 campaign, in which Raese posed with a ridiculous elephant gun. In the ad, he had the gun on his shoulder, pointing behind him. And his finger was on the trigger. Which is something of a faux pas, among people who actually know how to handle guns.

(Also running for the seat as a Democrat: 95-year-old Ken Hechler, a legendary West Virginia politician who wrote speeches for Harry S. Truman, served in the House of Representatives, and was West Virginia’s secretary of state. He receives my endorsement, because how amazing would it be to replace the oldest sitting senator with an even older guy?)

Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at apareene@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @pareene

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.

    Domino's

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.

    Arby's/Facebook

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.

    KFC

    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    Pizzagamechangers.com

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.

    7-Eleven

    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>