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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  • Disgusted in the citizens

    I want one person here to do a serious outline on what qualifies Ms. Tennant to be a Senator for this great state!!!

    Don't tell me that being Sec. of State qualifies her....don't tell me because she was a mascot...don't tell me because she was a news anchor and don't tell me because she can give a stump speech.

    What knowledge does she have of Washington politics and how things work? Has anyone checked into the state of the Secretary of States office. It is more corrupt, disorganized, disheveled than it has been in quite some time. There are offices that are using operating manuals that still list Betty Ireland as Sec. of State. The business and licensing division is in total chaos and most of the time if you call there and actually speak to someone, they really have no idea how to answer most questions. If you get a return call there must be a blue moon.

    In my mind, that is a direct reflection of leadership. One can be a leader of cheers but that doesn't make you a leader of people!!!

    • WV Loyal

      Amen! While I can't disclose my ocupation, I am in the ultimate leadership industry. Being a celebrity does not qualify a person for political office which seems to be occurring more often of late. And being a politican should not make a person a celebrity. Career politicians need to become a thing of the past. Instead, a politician needs to have an established career prior to entering politics for a limited term from which to develop their leadership AND public service qualifications. Only then will we elect true servants of the people and not those that are self serving.

  • WV Citizen

    Just say NO to Capito

  • Buck

    Once a mountaineer (mascot), always a mountaineer (mascot)

  • Jon

    All politicians, regardless of party affiliation, should be treated like the man knocking on your door wanting to pave your driveway with "leftover" asphalt. In what delusional world do you have to live in to believe a complete stranger cares for you and your family more than they care for their own political aspirations.

    • Hillbilly

      Even the ones who are admirable people do not stay that way long once they get to Washington...
      Play the same games as the big boys or else....

    • Shadow

      Amen! Well said.

    • GregG

      I couldn't agree more Jon!!!

  • Patchy

    Tennant is about as deep as a coat of paint.

    Her so-called skill on the stump consists of telling everyone she's a game-changer. Proof of same is never offered up but when the Rotary or senior center attendees smile and nod along who needs proof when your ego is connected to an air compressor?

    It's hardly original to say it but if she is elected then the voters deserve what they get. She's about as qualified to decide national issues as Stephen Hawking is to play quarterback for WVU.

  • Hillbilly

    Tennant is a novice, Her claim to fame was she did something on tv and carried a musket for WVU God she sure is ready to go to DC to represent WV!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jeremy

    I have not voted Dem in the last decade and do not plan to anytime soon.

  • Vote_Anybody_But_This_SOS_Idiot

    Indeed, Natalie Tennant should run for the Senate against Capito. So many of us want to see this SOS boob crushed in debates. Being a media-created empty suit may win a nothing office like SOS, but being an empty suit in a debate with Capito won't cut it. Sure, send Natalie into the battle, Demos. This will be so much fun to see your empty suit idiot crushed.

    • Hop'sHip

      Longest Fungo name ever!

  • hughesknight

    Before anyone thinks about running for Governor in 2016 they better ask our junior senator what his plans are. If he runs for that office nobody could beat him. Maybe the question in 2016 is who is going to run for that senate seat. I agree that Natalie Tenant is the best candidate for the democrats for the 2014 senate seat. But the chances that she will win are slim and none.

    • Wowbagger

      The story I have heard on pretty good authority, I might add, is that Joe Manchin aspires to a Vice-Presidential slot. Governor is a step backward, also Joe will not be the Junior Senator for long.

      Joe has burned a lot of bridges in his short tenure in Washington.

      "It is said that power corrupts, but actually it's more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power." -- David Brin

  • Wowbagger

    If she should choose to run a vote for Tennant will be a vote for Harry Reid and tacit support for the Obama agenda.

    After the Mingo County debacle (that probably is just beginning) the Democat brand is getting quite tarnished, and frankly it's about time for West Virginia to become a two party state like it was prior to 1932!

  • ShinnstonGuy

    Based on a recent appearance, I am sure she is going to run for something soon.

    Question: If she ran and lost the Senate seat, would the publicity actually hurt her for governor or help her? In the special election it was often reported that there weren't a lot of West Virginians familiar with her, and in debates she came off a bit too technical. (Sadly, everyone just wants soundbites in today's instant gratification world.)

    On a personal preference note, I would like to see her run against Shelley just to get some answers out of Shelley. While Capito is very likable as a person, politically I only hear her complaing about the infamous "War on Coal" and the Affordable Health Care Act. I have yet to see her really provide details on her own platform, such as introducing her own legislation.

    • DonaldH

      I agree, I know little of Shelley other than what you mentioned-- I fear that if you put her and Hoppy in a bag and shook them up together a Chris Christie would fall out.

  • TD

    I said on the day after Rockefeller announced his retirement, I'm sure many of you go back and reference my past posts, that Natalie should run. I thought then and still believe she is the only person in WV who can beat Capito. Love to hear her throw her hat in the ring.

    • DonaldH

      Just let her do her own "stumping" and not the news media-- The job of the media is to report to us what she says and remind us of what she HAS said.. In other words it's the job of the media to keep a politician honest,,, not promote a favorite....

    • Hillboy

      Although NT has a lot of name recognition she still seems to me to be a political question mark. Other than the administrative aspect, the SOS office seems largely ceremonial. I have no idea where she stands on any issues. I don't think she can beat Capito and will be surprised if she runs against her.

      • Scott

        She's not going to run because she knows she can't win.I don't think she or Thompson,Kessler,or Carmichael did their selfs any benefit throwing away 8 million taxpayers dollars for what amounted to a year in office.I know I'll not forget.

    • CaptainQ

      Well predicted, TD!

      On THIS issue, I happen to agree. Of the Dems who haven't turned this down yet, Natalie is indeed the 'best of the rest.' She'll give Capito a good campaign challenge, that's for certain. Shelley's got the advantage in the 'campaign funds' department, but that could change because of Natalie's statewide name recognition and the DNC's desire to 'hang on' to this seat for the Democrats.

      Capito vs. Tennant could be a real 'catfight' to the bitter end!

      • DonaldH

        Captain don't forget Tennant will and does have the NEWS media on her side,, and Hoppy knows if he wants to remain in the media game he had better fall in line,, or we might see a Howard Monroe in the "catbird seat" behind Hop's mic...

      • Joe

        Agreed guys. If it happens,this will be an incredible race to follow. Look forward to it.

      • Hop'sHip

        A catfight? Really? Maybe instead a hard-fought campaign between two accomplished individuals who happen to be female.

  • DonaldH

    What gives here Hop, have you and your station become the tools of the National Demoncrat Election Machine? Yesterday you had Chris Frates on your show promoting Frates' PR piece on Joe Manchin and how he "Is just one of us" and not really a "Washington Democrat" and today you seem to have taken his lead and decided to show off your own "Journalistic Credentials" and done the same for the Democrat Tennant.

    Yesterday's "interview" with Frates was nothing more than a free campaign advertisement for Manchin as your editorial today is for Tennant,,, but of course you already know that.

    • liberty4all

      I hope you are this critical of Bray Cary and his Republican campaign machine operating as the State Journal.

      Hoppy is interested in politics. Who the Democrats put up against Capito for senate is a political story to be covered. His editorial concerning Tenant is fair and newsworthy. It neither places Tenant on a pedestal nor tears down Capito.

      • DonaldH

        Don't know this Bray Cary and have never read the "State Journal"

        I'd just like to hear Hoppy for once ask a hard lead question and an even harder follow up question of someone other than David McKinley. McKinley seems to be the only person whose answers Hoppy is bold enough to challenge.

      • CaptainQ

        Bray Cary's not exactly a genius. I can still remember years ago during the 'closing remarks' on Decision Makers that he attributed the Confucius proverb "If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime" to Jesus. Tells us this dude doesn't read the Bible let alone understand it. Does this mean Bray can't be a Republican?

        • Hop'sHip

          Where is your evidence that this came from Confucius,Q? I could not verify that although I did find this alternative from George Carlin:

          “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day. ”

    • Wowbagger

      Joe Manchin = Michael Bloomberg's tool, bought and paid for with a high $ fundraiser at Bloomberg's New York mansion.

      If Ms Tennant comes out for gun control she can have Bloomberg bucks too!

      • Jonus Grumby

        If Ms Tennant comes out for gun control she can kiss her chances good-bye.

    • TD

      Obviously your so "Fox Newsed" now that allowing Democrats an opportunity to present their positions or even state that they're seeking office seems foreign and treasonous to you. Even though I disagree with Hoppy on most issues he's always been a good journalist which means giving all sides an opportunity to be heard.

      • DonaldH

        First: Democrats are treasonous by nature. second: I think it fine a Democrat puts their position forth,, even though they never do it in a truthful manner because they know it is always rejected by "WE THE PEOPLE" -- they have to lie, hoodwink, and use loop-holes See: Chucky Schumer,, he's as good as any at it... third: Again,, I think it fine a democrat put their agenda out there-- I just don't like it when the News Media acts as their PR firm and covers for their negatives and ballyhoos their few positives.

      • bulldog95

        This coming from a person that has never watched fox news. While I dont watch it all the time there are people on there that disagree with the hosts and talk about the lefts point of view. So my advice to you TD is to actually watch it instead of spouting talking points that you get from msnbc and code pink about how slanted fox is. While I know they are slanted to the right, they do have opposing views. You slowly lose respect from people when you spout off about things that are simply wrong. And yes, you have respect from me because you appear to have some integrity by sticking to your convictions and beliefs, although many of the political ones are quite different than mine.

        • Hop'sHip

          Yes TD.If you want to caricature something to delegitimize it, pick on worthy subjects like MSNBC and Code Pink and leave Fox News alone. Who else is going to tell us about thode death panels.

  • CaptainQ

    Well Hoppy, you forgot to mention Natalie's most important advantage if she did choose to run for the U.S. Senate against Capito: She has ZERO tracable ties to President Obama (aside from the fact she's a Democrat). This fact alone should compel her to throw her hat into the ring!

    The beauty of her 'cat bird' position is that if she DID run and lose in 2014, she can STILL choose to run either for her present office OR for Governor in 2016! True, a 'no holds barred' losing Senate race would damage her, but not so badly that she couldn't run for political office again in two years. WV voters wouldn't necessarily sour on her if she did lose to Capito in 2014.

    Why not take a shot at it? I truly believe Natalie has nothing to lose!

  • Bigfish

    Anybody but Shelley Moore bush. Her father was a crook and she has done nothing for the people of wv. She is a tool of Wall Street and big business and would cut or eliminate social security and Medicare.

    • DonaldH

      Really, Shelley is a crook because her Daddy was?-- Well, from that logic it must be true-- Obama was not born here and is a Communist-- his daddy was guilty of both...