Jennifer Smith/MetroNews

Secretary of State Natalie Tennant and her husband state Senator Erik Wells were all smiles during the state’s 150th birthday celebration earlier this summer.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Several sources have confirmed for MetroNews that West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant will announce next week that she is seeking the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2014.  The Washington Post is also reporting that Tennant will enter the race with a series of campaign stops, likely on Tuesday.

The seat is opening up next year because Senator Jay Rockefeller is retiring.

Tennant’s expected entry sets up a likely battle with Republican Shelley Moore Capito.  The 2nd District Congresswoman announced earlier this year that she is running for Rockefeller’s seat.

There was no immediate comment from Tennant’s office, although she is said to be contacting people and letting them know of her decision.

Tennant has been mulling a run for some time, even as a series of potential candidates decided not to run.  Tennant is said to be encouraged by a recent West Virginia Poll showing that if the election were held today, Capito would get 45 percent, Tennant 40 and 15 percent undecided.

The Marion County native is in her second four-year term as Secretary of State.  She will be able to run in 2014 without giving up her current position.  Her term expires in 2016.

Tennant has also been mentioned as a possible gubernatorial candidate in 2016. She ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for governor in a 2011 special election, finishing third.

Tennant, 45, first made a name for herself while a student at WVU where she became the first woman chosen at the Mountaineer, the mascot for the University.  She graduated in 1991 with a journalism degree and spent most of the next two decades as a television reporter and anchor in Clarksburg and Charleston.

Her husband, Erik Wells, is a Democratic State Senator representing Kanawha County.

There was evidence earlier Friday that Tennant had decided to join the race when the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sent out a release of a Charleston Gazette story about her.  The subject line was, “Tennant’s cost saving measures saves West Virginia $3 million.”

In that story, Tennant described herself as a “fiscal hawk.”

The GOP wasted no time responding.  National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brook Hougesen released a statement calling Tennant, “a cookie-cutter liberal.”


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  • Tim C

    Go ahead.... My fellow West Virginians..... Put another stupid democrat in office.

  • BAC

    Shelley always runs best, most impressively, when she has a real opponent. The national GOP will have fun with their ads exposing how to the left of WV votes Natalie is...if they see any needs to do ads against her at all.

  • DonaldH

    All of you folks on here that are so giddy over Tennant running for Senate tell us not only your position on the 2nd but also tell us what you think of the NRA... And while you're at it-- tell us if you are a "Friend of Coal" and also if the last Presidential election were today and knowing what you know today--- who would you have voted for..... Let's see just who the electorate that supports Tennant really is...

  • BAC

    Where has voting Democrat got West Virginia in the past 83 years? We're last in almost every category. And now they are destroying our main industry (coal) which not only employs thousands of miners, but produces seven spin-off jobs for each miner's job, and is the No. 1 source of our state's tax revenue. It will be beneficial to have a Senator from each party, because the Dems aren't always going to control that body.

  • blugldmn

    A fiscal hawk..... LMAO.....

  • blugldmn

    Can you say attention whore!

    You fools in the mines go ahead and vote but when you lose your job don't ask the taxpayer for help.

    She will be just another stooge for Obama and the progressive left.

    She will be beholden to those who will fund her campaign which isn't WV's ...

    She is being funded and managed from interests outside the state.

    Only a fool would vote for a fool like Natalie Tennant , she is void of any solutions to the problems facing WV.

  • tim

    Patrick Mcgeehan for U.S. Senate in 2014

  • College Ave

    Ask around any courthouse in West Virginia and see what the people who actually run our elections think of the job Ms. Tennant has done as Sec. of State. The woman couldn't organize and manage a county fair. Nevertheless, she'll put her arm around the senior citizen and her hand on the "working man's" shoulder, look deeply in their eyes, and make promises to "fight for the little guy" and to give everyone everything they need in life. My faith in representative government continues to erode.

  • Matt

    She only gave back the 3 million because she knew she was going to run and it's great press for her.....If she gets elected (which I highly doubt), let's see how much she gives back then.

    We will never see great people elected. Great qualified, honest individuals know better than to get involved with politics, they leave that to less quialified crooks. Both R's and D's are guilty of this.

  • Diane Parker

    Go for it!
    You speak well- you are poised, you are knowledgeable and youare a woman.
    Wish your mother could be here to cheer with me!!!

  • Jt

    Long live the King!

  • Teufel

    So true, sad but true

  • FWare

    This is a bad idea. Both U.S. Senators from the same congressional district, county and town? I wonder how the "other" people outside of Farmington and Marion county feel about this decision. Tennant is probably no better or worse than Capito, but that's too much power and influence for one area regardless of how it is used. The possible outcome in this situation should offend all who know anything about the spirit of our representative democracy. I respectfully but firmly say NO!

  • D.P.

    Shelley will win this race VERY EASILY! NT is just another VERY LIBERAL Dem hack. WV has been controlled by the Dems for 80+ years and nationally we're LAST in every good category and FIRST in every bad category! Thanks very much for nothing Democratic Party Politicians!

    Rocky and Nicky Joe have been embarassing Dem flunkies and nothing but "Yes" votes for BHO.

    NT very quickly will realize she is in way over her head and Shelley will win by AT LEAST 10 points!!!!!

  • Steve666871

    And what degree does Obama have???? Master of deception in big talk! I've known plenty of folks with big degrees that didn't have enough sense to pour pee out of a boot with the instructions tattooed on the heel! Where has Obama's big Harvard degree Socialist/Marxist crowd taken us - on the road to destruction. Warm and friendly is what we don't need. We need someone who knows how to get the job done.