THE GOP’S ‘HICKY’ AD…. In West Virginia’s U.S. Senate race, where polls show right-wing businessman John Raese with growing support, Democrats have tried to highlight the fact that the Republican nominee isn’t what he might appear to be.

Raese, for example, claims to side with working people, but he opposes the minimum wage and mine-safety laws. He claims to be a West Virginian, but his home is in Florida.

The Democratic case was made slightly easier with evidence that a Republican ad in support of Raese is a sham, too.

A new Republican ad that shows a couple of guys at the counter of a diner, wearing ball caps and plaid shirts as they take shots at West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D), was shot with actors, from a script, in Philadelphia. […]

“We are going for a ‘Hicky’ Blue Collar look,” read the talent agency’s casting call for the independent-expenditure ad, being aired by the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “These characters are from West Virginia so think coal miner/trucker looks.”

“Clothing Suggestions” included jeans, work boots, flannel shirt, denim shirt, “Dickie’s [sic] type jacket with t-shirt underneath,” down-filled vest, “John Deer [sic] hats (not brand new, preferably beat up),” and “Trucker Hats (not brand new, preferably beat up).”

For Dems hoping to make the case that the GOP message, like its candidate, is a big deception, this certainly can’t hurt. For that matter, one wonders how West Virginians will respond to being called “hicky” looking.

On a related note, Salon‘s Joan Walsh noted that John Kasich’s (R) latest ad in Ohio’s gubernatorial race features a “steelworker” trashing incumbent Gov. Ted Strickland (D). As it turns out, Kasich’s campaign couldn’t find a real Ohio steelworker, so the former Lehman Brothers executive hired an actor to pretend to be an Ohio steelworker.

“When we saw Congressman Kasich’s ad, we wondered why any Ohio steelworker, whose job has been threatened by the unfair trade deals Kasich supported in Congress, would be willing to appear in his commercials,” said USW Local 1238’s John Saunders. “As it turns out, when Congressman Kasich couldn’t get a real steelworker to do his dirty work, he did what any congressman from Wall Street would do — he paid someone.”

To be sure, hiring actors for campaign ads isn’t exactly new or shocking. But under the circumstances, and the ways in which these revelations cut against the Republican message, it’s the kind of story that might get some attention in the closing weeks of the campaign.

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.