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W.Va. voters affect the Senate

DEMOCRAT Joe Manchin, one of the state's most effective governors ever, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010 after the death of Robert C. Byrd.

Manchin beat Republican challenger John Raese by about a 10 percentage-point margin — 53,300 votes.

This fall, Manchin faces Raese again.

This time, Manchin is dragging around a different record — President Barack Obama's.

This time the question facing West Virginia voters is whether the U.S. Senate, which has aided and abetted the president's radical agenda on energy and health care, should remain in the hands of the Democratic Party.

Or whether Mountain State residents should turn the Senate over to Republicans, who would  stop Obama.

West Virginians get a vote on that question in the Senate seat.

The president has advanced his war on coal through EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and the heads of other regulatory agencies. That campaign is doing far-reaching economic damage to West Virginia.

Manchin's effectiveness at checking the administration on such matters is at issue, and should be.

The junior senator is touring the state on what he calls a "Fighting for Every Job" tour.

As the Daily Mail's Jared Hunt reported this week, Manchin highlighted not any influence on the president, but his distance from Obama.

In so doing, he also drew attention to his powerlessness.

"I talked to the president before I was a senator," he told a group of workers at Appalachian Power Co.'s John Amos Power Plant in Winfield on Tuesday.

"I've not spoken to him since I've been a U.S. senator — at all. I've tried. I'm still trying. But we just have a difference, I guess, of opinion on some things."

So do other West Virginians.

Debbie Sharrow of Fraziers Bottom asked Manchin:

"Our basic elementary school government education talks about checks and balances with our government.

"When is someone going to put a choke collar on the EPA? They have too much power."

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has tried. It passed a measure that would prevent the EPA from enacting regulations not based on energy policy passed by Congress.

Manchin replied that he, too, has tried. Last year, he and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., proposed a similar measure.

The Democratic majority in the Senate shot it down, leaving the EPA free to act.

The EPA is using regulatory authority to write energy policy for the United States.

Manchin says he objects.

"You should not be able to regulate what's not been legislated," the senator said.

But the administration is doing precisely that — writing national energy policy through regulation. And the Democratic-controlled Senate has refused to act.Raese, a quiet, successful Morgantown businessman, posted on his website — www.raeseforsenate.org — this observation with regard to Manchin:

He proposed, passed and signed West Virginia's own cap-and-trade measure in 2009.

Manchin also voted against repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — Obamacare in February 2011.

And as for stopping the EPA, Raese said of Manchin:

"It's your party, and even with a Democratic president and his appointed agency chief, you just can't get it done."

That's true.

The Democratic-controlled Senate has provided no check and balance against the administration's damaging initiatives, and seems even less likely to do so in a second Obama term.

West Virginians like Manchin.

They don't know much about Raese, a lifelong conservative who is focused on economic growth and freedom.

But West Virginians control only one Senate seat this cycle, and a lot of them are going to think it over pretty carefully.

Fight for the senator?

Or fight for the country?

Maurice is editorial page editor of the Daily Mail. She may be reached at 348-4802 or hanna@dailymail.com.


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