Robert Byrd held this seat in the U.S. Senate since 1959, after having served in the House of Representatives since 1953, making him the longest-serving person in Congress. Byrd led his party in the Senate from 1977 to 1989, as Majority Leader or Minority Leader. Afterward, as the most senior Democrat in the Senate, he served as President pro tempore of the Senate whenever his party was in the majority, including at the time of his death.
After Byrd's death, West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant initially announced that a special election would be held on the same day as the regular election for the six-year term. However, that special election was rescheduled to 2010 for it to coincide with the 2010 mid-term elections.
Raese has filed a rematch against Manchin. He argues that he has more material to criticize Manchin for. One example is how Manchin lost his long-time endorsement from West Virginians for Life because of his vote against defunding Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider. Another example is how he is undecided about whether or not to support Obama's re-election campaign. Senior Obama campaign advisor David Axelrod commented in response, “His concern is about his own political well-being.” In addition, he voted against U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan's Republican budget.
Raese wrote an op-ed in the Charleston Gazette saying about Manchin, "Yes, he'll talk like a conservative and act like he's fiscally responsible to appeal to more moderate voters, but under that outward appearance of a lovable rube is the heart of a tax-and-spend liberal.
Raese has continued to make controversial statements. In April 2012, he equated smoking bans with Adolf Hitler's yellow badge. He said "in Monongalia County now, I have to put a huge sticker on my buildings to say this is a smoke-free environment. This is brought to you by the government of Monongalia County. Okay? Remember Hitler used to put Star of David on everybody’s lapel, remember that? Same thing." That same day, he referred to President Franklin D. Roosevelt as "Fidel Roosevelt." Raese didn't apologize for his statements on Hitler saying "I am not going to be intimidated by a bunch of bullshit. I'm not apologizing to anybody or any organization. It's my perfect right to make a speech about meaningful subject matters in this country." He has called rocker Ted Nugent, a "patriot" for criticizing President Barack Obama.
Note: The ±% column reflects the change in total number of votes won by each party from the previous (special) election. Neither the vote shares nor the turnout figure account for write-ins. Turnout percentage is the portion of registered voters (1,234,367 as of 10/1/2012) who voted.