Charleston, W. Va. Popular Gov. Joe Manchin won the Democratic nomination Saturday and will face GOP primary winner and wealthy businessman John Raese in the race to fill the Senate seat vacated by the late Robert C. Byrd.
Raese defeated a crowded field of Republicans and becomes part of the GOP quest to dismantle the Democratic Senate majority as high unemployment and the slow economic recovery take a toll on their political prospects this fall.
In Louisiana, scandal-tainted Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter easily beat two little-known challengers and will meet Democratic Rep. Charlie Melancon, who won his party’s primary, in November.
Vitter survived a 2007 prostitution scandal after he admitted an unspecified “serious sin” after his phone number appeared in the records of a Washington prostitution ring. He has also shrugged off fresh questions about his judgment in allowing an aide to remain on his staff for more than two years after a violent attack on a woman police identified as his ex-girlfriend.
With little competition from his own party, he and Melancon have already engaged in attacks.
“There is a clear choice in this election, and as we educate voters about my positive plans for putting Louisiana first and contrast it with David Vitter’s hostility toward women, veterans and Louisiana families, I know we’ll win,” Melancon said.
Vitter said in a statement that Melancon was too liberal.
“Louisiana voters will get to choose between the current Obama policies of endless bailouts, failed stimulus, massive debt, and government-dominated health care, represented by Charlie Melancon, or the common sense conservative alternatives I’ve been advocating,” he said.
David Vitter is the brother of Kansas University Provost Jeff Vitter.