CHARLESTON- The campaign of John Raese is offering money to whoever will write the most letters-to-the editor at newspapers in counties around the state.
In a flier distributed at a campaign rally in Charleston this week, the campaign was offering "$25 to the person in each county with the most 'Letters to the Editor' published between now and when early voting begins."
The flier went on to say "the article must mention John or Liz Raese and the date and publication."
Republican Raese is running against Gov. Joe Manchin to fill Robert C. Byrd's U.S. Senate seat.
Jim Dornan, Raese's campaign manager, said the promotion was a "cute idea" to get people talking about the campaign and the issues Raese has been highlighting. They were treating it like a contest.
''It is not a big deal,'' he said. ''Campaigns do contests like this all the time.''
However, the state Democratic Party is concerned about the move.
"Offering money for people to write letters for your campaign is very questionable at best," West Virginia Democratic Party Executive Director Derek Scarbro said. "Having to pay people to say nice things about you is very desperate and unethical.
"John Raese already owns several media outlets but now he thinks he needs to pay voters to get his talking points in other newspapers."
Dornan said the fact the Democrats are taking issue with this point shows "they are bankrupt on ideas."
''Let's get on and talk about the real serious issues,'' he said.
He brought up the nation's recently passed health care reform initiatives, nicknamed "Obamacare," which Republicans feel will cost the nation billions of dollars and impact many citizens and other issues being touted by the Democratic Party.
''If I had to support and defend Obama's policies, I would probably do silly stuff too,'' Dornan said.