If you would have asked me three weeks ago I would have said "no" but it seems clear that he's got a real shot at the seat. Governor Manchin is still the clear favorite but the polls have certainly tightened in the last few days.
Manchin is very popular in the Mountaineer State and easily won reelection in 2008. He should be a easy victor in the race to replace the venerable Robert Byrd, but, as we all know, this is not a normal year. The President lost badly in West Virginia and his popularity is under 40% in the state. Raese will try to pin the "liberal" label on Manchin and tie him as much as he can to Obama in hopes of sinking the Democrat.
West Virginia has voted Republican in the last three Presidential elections but it tends to vote Democratic for most statwide and local offices. No Republican candidate has won a Senate election since 1956 (I believe every other state has elected at least one GOP candidate to the Upper Chamber since then) so it will be a tough uphill climb for the conservative challenger.
Raese should have beaten Jay Rockefeller in for the open Senate seat in 1984 but the heir of Standard Oil spent about 12 million dollars (mostly of his own money) to buy the his way in. Raese spent a little over a million bucks and came about four points short. Had the playing field been a bit more level I believe Raese would have won the seat as a young thirty-four year old GOP firebrand.
This will be a early signal on Election Night of how well the GOP is doing. If Raese keeps it close or wins the race you will see massive Democratic losses across the board. If Manchin wins easily then the Republican tide won't be as high as once thought. I give Raese a puncher's chance-if he wins the GOP will control the Senate in 2011.