John Raese Rips Page From Sharron Angle's Media Strategy Playbook, Dodges Press [UPDATE]
West Virginia Republican Senate candidate John Raese appeared to rip a page out of fellow conservative contender Sharron Angle's playbook on Tuesday when members of the press were restricted from a rally for his campaign in the Mountain State.
Angle, who is looking to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada, has developed a reputation for being media shy and has gone to great lengths to avoid taking questions from reporters. This week, HuffPost's Sam Stein reported that the GOP hopeful even relied on a decoy to dodge the press in the Silver State.
Raese -- who's facing off against Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin for the Senate seat long held by the late Sen. Robert Byrd -- seems to be running with the Angle campaign media strategy.
UPDATE: WRNR News Director Albert J. McGilvray wrote in an email to HuffPost that the American Legion, not the Raese campaign, was responsible for the press restriction. McGilvray:
The commander of the American Legion Post had orginially been told a member of the post wanted to rent the hall for a "meeting." The commander - Ralph Fox - was not informed it was for a political rally. Apparently, the American Legion is banned under bylaws to "host" political rallies. The local Martinsburg Journal, in an article written by Matt Armstrong - reported the post was "hosting" the event. - This was wrong. They are not allowed to "host" political events.
Thus, it was the American Legion post - NOT the Rease campaign - that barred the media. However, WRNR-AM 740, WEPM-AM 1340 and a reporter from the Hagerstown Herald-Mail WERE inside the hall, and were never asked to leave, despite the fact we were standing not more that ten feet from Senator McCain, and recording his entire presentation.
As Arizona Sen. John McCain took to West Virginia to stump for Raese at the American Legion in Charles Town, local outlet WHAG reports that members of the press were informed ahead of time that they would not be welcome to cover the event.
But Raese -- who has joked that when it comes to matters of policy the Tea Party is "a little bit left of me" -- is hardly the first Senate hopeful running with support from the conservative movement this election cycle to make headlines for attempting to avoid the press.
Earlier this month, Miller went as far as to define a curious set of rules of engagement for how he plans to handle taking questions from the press for the remainder of his campaign.
"We've drawn a line in the sand," he explained during a very brief news conference amid finding himself embroiled in controversy. "You can ask me about background, you can ask me about personal issues, I'm not going to answer them. I'm not. This is about the issues. ... This is about moving this state forward, and that's our commitment."
The goal of the new media strategy seems clear, as it was communicated by Angle over the summer. She explained that she wanted the press to be her "friend" and "ask the questions we want to answer so that they report the news the way we want it to be reported."