And here's the punchline:
United Mine Workers of American President Cecil Roberts backed Gov. Joe Manchin's Senate campaign this week, appearing in an ad with Manchin that was shot at a mine with a history of safety problems.
Part of the mine, Patriot's Federal No. 2 mine in Monongalia County, was shut down earlier this month for having explosively high levels of methane.
The mine has also been the subject of a criminal investigation. A foreman there admitted to falsifying methane-testing records.
Between this SNAFU and unfavorable recent polling, it's no surprise that Manchin is flailing for a new narrative. West Virginians love their Governor, but want Republicans to control Congress. Electing John Raese, therefore, is a win/win: West Virginia gets a Senator who won't serve as an Obama rubber-stamp, and Joe Manchin can remain in Charleston--where he can work to improve mine safety so that next time he wants to use that issue to bludgeon a political opponent, he won't end up embarrassing himself.
UPDATE: Enter the NRSC.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee is spending $1,199,420 on this ad against Gov. Joe Manchin, Democratic candidate for Senate in West Virginia.I'm no expert on West Virginia media buys, but ~$1.2M probably goes a long way in the Mountain State.