I’m John Raese, and I Approved This Letter to the Editor
Apparently, West Virginia GOP Senate candidate and wealthy businessman John Raese is holding a “contest” in which he’s offering to pay the person in each county who publishes the most letters to the editor on his behalf, and the Parkersburg News and Sentinel, for one, isn’t having it:
Despicable! That’s the best description of how readers should feel about John Raese’s attempt to buy their opinion.
Raese, the Republican candidate for the unexpired term of the late Sen. Robert Byrd, is offering to pay a West Virginian in each county who submits the most published letters to the editor in support of his candidacy, which can only be seen as ethically disgusting and insulting to those who truly have a political opinion they wish to share with newspaper readers. The “contest,” as Raese’s spin doctor called it, makes every letter received by a newspaper questionable as to its motive for being written.
I’m assuming this practice isn’t on par with such illegal activities as vote buying, but it does at the very least call into question, as the News and Sentinel points out, the independence of concerned citizens throughout the state. As such, the tactical significance of Raese’s move — to the extent that it becomes common knowledge — seems perhaps as questionable as the practice itself.