West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant is said to be seriously considering running for the Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate in 2014.  The seat is opening because of the retirement of long-time Senator Jay Rockefeller.

There is a long list of Democrats who have already passed on the race: Nick Rahall, Ralph Baxter, Nick Preservati, Booth Goodwin, Carte Goodwin, Robin Davis and Gaston Caperton among them.

That does not mean, however, that Tennant should be considered a last resort.  In some Democratic circles, Tennant has been the logical choice all along.

She has a number of factors in her favor.

Tennant already has high statewide name recognition. A poll earlier this year by Mark Blankenship Enterprises found Tennant with a commanding 40 percent plurality in a Primary with Davis (12%), Preservati (1%) and Baxter (1%), and the rest (46 percent) undecided.

She is good on the stump.  Tennant, like Senator Joe Manchin, is comfortable in her skin and effective on the campaign trail, where she is ready with an easy smile, a laugh and a handshake.

Tennant was significantly underfunded in the Special Gubernatorial Election of 2011, but still did reasonably well. She finished third, behind Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and then-House Speaker Rick Thompson.  Tennant finished second in Kanawha County, the state’s largest.

But Tennant also has significant hurdles.

The Republican nominee for the Senate will be 2nd District Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito.  She already has a statewide campaign up and running with over $2 million on hand.

Capito has a voting record she has to defend, but she’s used to that.  Capito is also good on the stump and quick with answers to tough questions.  Don’t underestimate her ability to get tough in a campaign.

The National Republican Party is already counting the Senate seat here. Big money will flow into West Virginia to ensure that happens.  Tennant would also be in line for considerable national help, but if she can’t move the needle, that money could go elsewhere.

Tennant may also be thinking about the impact of a high-profile Senate race on her political future, should she lose.  And, if she lost badly, that would be tough on the political resume.

Tennant is said to be interested in the 2016 Governor’s race.  A 2014 Senate race would be grueling. Negative attack ads are inevitable.  Right now, West Virginians have a generally positive impression of Tennant.  An intense media barrage could inflict damage that carries over into the next election.

Right now, Tennant is in an ideal position. She can easily win re-election to the Secretary of State’s job in 2016 or set her sights on becoming the first female Governor in the state’s history.

Meanwhile, Tennant’s profile is enhanced by the considerable speculation that she may get in the U.S. Senate race.

Contemplating such a significant race must be stressful personally, but politically Tennant is in the catbird’s seat.   It’s just that you don’t get to stay there forever, especially if you have higher political aspirations.

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  • Chris

    Natalie is a communist, the last thing we need is a politician with media ties taking our freedoms and raising our taxes, Capito is no better, both do not care about wv or America. I urge any west Virginians who love their state and country to vote for anyone but another communist, manchin and tomblin are enough to deal with

  • john

    Yea WV put another DEM in office--you see how much better shape our State is in since the Dems have been in office...........49the in everything and patches and potholes on every road. no jobs, taxes too high , salaries at the lower 3/4 rank , ans gasoline taxes unreal ...but man have we got a pretty capitol dome.........................

  • David Kennedy

    Ms. Tennant should let the Senate run go....as our first woman Governor, she would be incredible.
    Look at it like it is...(She is) at home with the legislature and the entire state government.
    With our WV revenue stream dwindling from Obama's restrictive, socialistic policies heavy hitters are needed in both places...
    Moore-Capito will be elected to replace Rocky...and the heat is on to protect West Virginia.
    Tennant is the logical and best qualified choice for Governor.
    As a Democrat, I had made it my decision to never vote again, but if these two run in their respective slots...not only will I vote for them...I'll campaign and send money to them...
    Hear! Hear!

  • george

    I BET jOHNr IS A DEMOCRAT............................

  • george

    Like Steve said::lets put another Dem in our already deteriorating democratic run COUNTRY------When are WEST VIRGINIANS GOING TO WAKE UP.............!!!!!!

  • JohnR

    A few notable women have lost high profile races only to win another office a few years later... Dianne Feinstein lost the California governor's race in 1990 then turned around and won a Senate seat in 1992. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana lost a governor's race in 1995, however in 1996 she won a Senate race and the same with Claire McCaskill of Missouri. She lost a 2004 governor's race and was elected to the Senate in 2006. So defeat does not mean failure and certainly does not guarantee the end of a political career.
    Landrieu was a former state treasurer when elected to the Senate. Natalie Tennant is just as experienced as the next person. It's funny how all of a sudden Republicans want to talk about experience when they once stood for term limits. If they had stood by their term limits mantra then Millionaire Congresswoman Capito would be a former congresswoman.
    Natalie Tennant makes this a race which Republicans don't want. She IS NOT WASHINGTON! Unfortunately, the Republican War on Women will be in full force with Millionaire Congresswoman Capito blowing the biggest horn on the block. Watch it happen.

  • vashti

    i believe she will run for governor. She wants to have time with her daughter. DC will not allow that.

  • fresh face

    Nice job Hoppy of being fair and putting it out there for all. I do think Tennant stands a great chance and good for her to step up to the plate to make a difference for WV. Capito has never introduced a bill in congress or served on a major committee even under Republican control
    she has been in washington social circles to long. if you care about our future CAPITO IS NOT THE ANSWER

  • WVValley

    Tennant needs to explain her relationship with George Soros and his agenda. His Secretary of State Project is what got her elected.

    Ultra left agenda is not what I'm looking for in WV politics.

  • D.P.

    "TENNANT FOR SENATE!" That's truly laughable! This will be the easiest race Shelley has ever had!

    NT is probably a nice gal, but is as qualified to be a U.S. Senator as the Texas prisoner who gave Obummer a run for his money in the primary. By the way, isn't part of Natalie's job as SOS to inform the public/voters of such an occurrence? I follow politics pretty closely and never read or heard of this prisoner being on the ticket until AFTER the primary election! NT sure dropped the ball on that one!

    Shelley's a 100% LOCK against NT or any other Dem in this state (with the exception of Joe Manchin who of course won't be running against her).

    Liberal WV Dems get used to the fact that WV is quickly becoming a RED state! Democratic rule for the past 80 years has pretty much wrecked this state! Fortunately, the fine citizens of WV are finally recognizing the damage the Dems have done to WV over the years!!!!!

    • Defeat_Blockheads

      No Natalie isn't a "nice gal." Unless being an arrogant buffoon makes her "nice."

  • JohnR

    First, Republicans are the filthiest campaigners in the world. So get ready West Virginia.
    Second, Natalie Tennant was the first person that came to my mind as a logical choice to run for the U.S. Senate in 2014. Why? Most importantly, she IS NOT Washington. Ms. Capito took office in 2001 and the national debt was around $4.5 trillion. Today it's over $17 trillion. Yes, Ms. Capito voted AYE for massive spending increases and more BIG GOVERNMENT Republican style. So don't let her rhetoric fool you. She claims to stand with the coal miner BUT has NEVER stood up to coal companies stealing retirement benefits and medical insurance from retirees. She has also stood firmly against our veterans. You would never guess such a thing, I mean, you know... she waves that American flag so well in her campaign advertisements. All she wants to do is repeal Obamacare. Yeah, smart move for her. Of course she and the Republicans are marching in lock step to make sure newborn babies and children of all ages never benefit from health insurance coverage their parents cannot currently afford.
    In closing, Natalie Tennant IS NOT Washington. Absolutely no ties to Washington Obama (except for being a member of the Democratic Party) and she's as solid as they come. Manchin & Tennant will be a two-one punch for West Virginia Familes.
    You better watch... DON'T GET CAPITOED!

  • steve

    yea lets put another dem in---you see what a mess we're in now........let's go ahead and get another Rockefeller.......might as well stay the course,,,,,,,,,,,,,that is to deterioration.................

  • GetSomeMorals

    By all means, let's make SMC our next senator. She will pass all kinds of legislation like she has been doing for the past 13 years.....yeah right! Not one bill sign into law in ALL those yeara! She's a DC socialite! TENNANT FOR SENATE!

    • Shadow

      I will paraphrase Will Rogers on Calvin Coolidge,I believe, "He did nothing and that was what we wanted done."

  • Bag Bob

    Does any one remember the WCHS airing when she cussed and threw the papers as they came back from a break. She had to apologize later in the newscast.

  • AX MAN

    The world is becoming very complicated, we need someone with more experience, than Tennant.