Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin, who is running for West Virginia's open U.S. Senate seat, is out with a new campaign ad taking aim at a spot released by Republicans last week in which "hicky" actors were hired to portray state voters.
The GOP ad, aiming to boost Manchin's opponent John Raese, was paid for by the National Republican Senatorial Committee as an independent expenditure, and not created in coordination with Raese's campaign.
Nevertheless, Manchin is trying to pin the scandal directly on his opponent, who has shot up in the polls in recent weeks. "John Raese thinks we're hicks," says a narrator in the new 30-second Manchin ad. Another voice continues, "His people hired actors from Philadelphia to attack Joe Manchin and told them to dress 'hicky.'"
Politico's Mike Allen reported on the casting call for the initial pro-Raese spot:
But not just any actors: "We are going for a 'Hicky' Blue Collar look," read the casting call for the ad, being aired by the National Republican Senatorial Committee. "These characters are from West Virginia so think coal miner/trucker looks."
"Clothing Suggestions" included jeans, work boots, flannel shirt, denim shirt, "Dickie's type jacket with t-shirt underneath," down-filled vest, "John Deer [sic] hats (not brand new, preferably beat up)," "trucker hats (not brand new, preferably beat up)."
The new ad out from Manchin's camp blasts the ordeal as "insulting." A narrator says of Raese, "He didn't even apologize. Obviously we're not good enough for him."
A spokesman for Raese's campaign dismissed the attack as "desperate."