CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Tuesday marks nine months until the 2014 May Primary Election in West Virginia and no Democrat with statewide name recognition has yet launched a U.S. Senate campaign.

State Democratic Party Chairman Larry Puccio said that could soon change.

“There’s no question that we will have a candidate and it’s an individual that has worked very hard and has been committed to putting everything in and dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s and I think we’ll have a tremendous candidate,” said Puccio.

He would not confirm if that candidate will be Secretary of State Natalie Tennant who has made no announcements about her political future.

The Marion County native has served as Secretary of State since first being elected in 2008.  Prior to that, she worked in television news at WBOY-TV in Clarksburg and WCHS-TV in Charleston and is a former Mountaineer mascot for West Virginia University.

Puccio would say Tennant would be a strong candidate if she opts to get into the race for the seat U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller currently holds.  Rockefeller is not running for reelection next year.

In Tennant, “I think you have an individual that is a true West Virginian, that is proven.  She is the person that touches the people, shakes the hands, hears their concerns,” said Puccio.

Republican Second District Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito announced her plans to run for the U.S. Senate last fall soon after being reelected for a seventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

State Republican Party Chairman Conrad Lucas said Capito has represented West Virginia’s interests well with her agenda on Capitol Hill.

“It’s been very pro-coal, very pro-West Virginia.  It’s been anti-Obamacare.  It’s been very pro-job creation,” he said.  Lucas said, while many people like Tennant, he thinks Capito would be the stronger candidate in any potential race between the two.

There are several other candidates already running for U.S. Senate.

Sheirl Fletcher, a former Republican member of the state House of Delegates from Morgantown, has filed pre-candidacy papers to run for the Democratic nomination U.S. Senate.

Fletchers changed her party affiliation a decade ago and unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate in the 2008 primary against Senator Rockefeller and in the 2010 and 2012 primaries against U.S. Senator Joe Manchin.

Others who have filed include Phil Hudok from Huttonsville who is running with the Constitution Party, Republican Scott “Cody” Regan from Salt Rock, Republican Edwin Ray Vanover from Bluefield and Democrat David Wamsley from Williamstown.

Former TV Anchor Martin Staunton from Beckley has filed to run without a party affiliation.

West Virginia’s Primary Election Day is Tuesday, May 13.

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  • Ariel

    Natalie!! She has my vote.

  • Christina Jacobs

    Go Natalie!! Don't worry about the negative people. WV needs you!

    You have my vote and my husbands!!

  • Mark

    Natalie has my vote. If nothing else, the idiots posting for Shelley prove she's the worst candidate.

    Looking forward to voting for you Natalie Tennant!

  • takemetoemstar

    i like how every article involving NT future refers to her being the WVU mascot. who gives a SH**?? that's like being the best drinker in the college frat or sorority... what does that have to do with being a US Senator or SOS?? nothing i submit. I like NT met and talked to her several times but i think this idea is a bit out of her league at this juncture.

    • Larry

      Yeah, way out of her league at this point.

  • Sara King

    My vote is for Natalie Tennant!!! I hope she runs, she's the best person for the job and out state!

  • Eric Harris

    Natalie has never lost to a republican. Capito has never had a strong Democratic opponent.

    Natalie works a LOT harder than Capito and leaves a much more personal impression. Capito has support now in the 2nd a mile wide but an inch deep.

    Natalie has the entire state with many that feel like she is their daughter, sister, and friend.

    I predict a win for Natalie.

    • Larry

      I predict you are wrong, very wrong!

  • KJames

    I would like to see:

    Mountaineer vs. Convict's daughter.

    Mountaineer vs. career politician born from career politician

    Mountaineer vs. do-nothing congresswoman.

    I think Natalie with her musket, wins in any scenario.

    • Larry

      And you don't think tennant is/ or will be a career politician?

      • KJames

        She's only been the SOS since 2008 and it is the only political office she's held.

        So the answer is no, she is not a career politician.

        • Larry

          Just so you know, politicians are politicians because the job is easy, pays great, great benefits, and they are not held responsible if they do a bad job, especially in WV where the people keep re-electing them because they are dumocrats.

        • Larry

          Given the chance you can bet she will be, but it wont be as a US Senator, at least not this time around.

  • Stacy

    I would love to see Natalie Tennant as our US Senator! Go Natalie Go!!!

  • Larry

    Bring her on, Shelley will crush her, would probably be one of the biggest margins in state history!

  • Wilson Peterson

    My vote will be for Natalie Tennant.

  • Magic Mike

    If Tennant is elected what we will get is more war on coal.