A Watching One

Start following the West Virginia senate race. Right now, popular Governor Joe Manchin is in the lead, but the GOP is showing some confidence, putting some big money into the poor state.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee will launch ads in the West Virginia Senate race today, a seven-figure expenditure that strongly suggests the party thinks they can pull off an upset in the Mountain State.

The ad will cost the NRSC roughly $1.2 million and will run statewide -- including in the pricey Washington, D.C. media market -- for two weeks, according to sources familiar with the buy.

Where are Republicans finding their confidence?

A PPP poll, which conducts its survey using automated rather than live callers, released earlier this week  put Raese at 46 percent to 43 percent for Manchin. And, Democrats acknowledge privately that the deep unpopularity of President Obama as well as his major policy initiatives like health care were making it a tougher than expected race for Manchin.

How delightful is that phrase, "the deep unpopularity of President Obama?" The Democrats are now having to defend so many seats, they may have to skip some.

That the NRSC is willing to put its money where its mouth is puts Senate Democrats in an interesting spot. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has a number of endangered incumbents they need to protect in places like Colorado, Wisconsin, California and Nevada -- but also can't afford to ignore a seat like West Virginia where they have a top-tier candidate in a winnable race.