CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Secretary of State Natalie Tennant is expected to officially launch her campaign for U.S. Senate on Tuesday with several announcements throughout West Virginia.

State Democratic Party Chairman Larry Puccio applauded Tennant’s decision, claiming support has been building for several months.

“Anytime you have that kind of a push and a groundswell, it tells me it is the right thing,” said Puccio. “The overwhelming support has got her understanding that she is right person.”

Many Democrats passed on a U.S. Senate campaign that would pit them against Republican Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (WV-2) in the 2014 general election. Capito announced her U.S. Senate intentions last year.

She is vying to replace U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who said he won’t be seeking re-election.

Tennant, 45, is a Marion County native in her second term as West Virginia’s Secretary of State. She was first elected in 2008. Prior to that, Tennant worked in television news at WBOY-TV in Clarksburg and WCHS-TV in Charleston and she is a former Mountaineer mascot for West Virginia University.

On Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline,” Puccio said Tennant looked for her support in the Mountain State, not in Washington, D.C.

“Natalie is a hometown girl and she spent her time in West Virginia talking to people and doing her due diligence and all that,” he said.

“I always believed she was an individual that could do very, very well.”

Several other candidates have filed to run for the U.S. Senate seat.

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, along with David Harless from Charleston.

Others who have filed include Constitution Party candidate Phil Hudok from Huttonsville, Republicans Scott “Cody” Regan from Salt Rock and 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 is Tuesday, May 13.

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  • Jon F.

    I cannot understand why any West Virginian would vote for a democrat for any reason. I left WV 28 years ago to seek a career. I love WV and I come home every year. I was in McDowell county in August for a week. Democrats brag about giving out the first food stamps there in the 1960's. And look at it now...worse than ever. West Virginia loses its most precious resource year after year, the sons and daughters that cannot find a job there. Wake up my dear West Virginians...democrats do not equal jobs for your sons and daughters.

    • realitycheck

      "But, gosh golly, Natalie will stand up to Harry Reid and Obama. She'll look out for the working man... after all, she is one of us - she was the Mountaineer mascot and she was on TV." Scary, but this is how many voters feel. This is the kind of traditional democrat that she's going to try and snooker (she's got the small percentage of WV voters who are liberal ("progressive") in the bag). Never mind that she campaigned for Obama. Never mind that Obama and Reid could care less about this state. Just go ahead and continue to demonize big business, coal operators (who i would agree haven't done the best job of endearing themselves to the people of this state), and the rich. It's worked for decades in this state, and yet so many can't comprehend why businesses won't come here.

    • WV Proud

      Shelley's been a part of WV politics for 17 years. Her leadership, obviously hasn't helped either.

      Capito has been in Washington long enough. She's made herself millions from it, she needs to be retired.

  • Jim G.

    I have not liked her since she was the first female "Mountaineer". Obama rubber stamp at best. She runs and loses and she still has her job. If she really wants to make a statement then resign from the Secretary of State's office so you don't have your cushy job to fall back on. Capito is giving up her safe congressional seat to run. Tennant will lose 55% to 45% minimum.

  • FungoJoe

    Tennant is a BIG Obama supporter. Lets see how far that gets her in WV.

  • WVU86

    Bad timing on Natalie's part. Mid-term elections of a lame duck president who is taking some major PR lumps right now (anti-coal initiatives; Syria; fragile economy) means Dems are going to have to work twice as hard in the next election just to have a shot at winning and Shelly Moore already has a big head start. Natalie is a good candidate but she can't overcome the anti-Obama sentiment that hangs over the Dems in this state.

  • T Brown


  • Brad

    Shelley 60, Natalie 40%. They'll show how Tennant is tied to the disastrous Obama policies that are destroying our coal industry and wrecking our healthcare system.

    • WV Proud

      When Shelley voted against the UBB Miner's Safety bill, she was done for any movement upwards PERIOD

  • WV Proud

    Natalie Tennant will out work Shelley Capito by far. Spoke to a woman yesterday that said "Natalie Tennant has been to my business more times than any other politician in the state." She lives in the 2nd district.

    Natalie Tennant will make it happen through hard work WV style. A woman that has literally worked for everything she has accomplished.

  • Ken

    Natalie can beat Capito. I bet Capito is shaking in her socks.

    Interesting time in politics.

  • CaptainQ

    Tennant was the best choice left over from all of the previous potential Democrat candidates who declined. As far as we know at this time, Natalie has no direct ties to President Obama (which is a plus for her in WV). Tennant could give Capito a real challenge, assuming the DNC can help fund her campaign.

  • blugldmn

    She will do nothing but what she is told to do by those who are financing and urging her to run for for office.

    She will be a rubber stamp for the current administration.

    You stupid miners go ahead and vote your jobs away....likewise for everyone else.

    She has not proven she can do anything on her own.

  • WVUP

    Natalie Tennant will be a worse Senator than she was a Mountaineer Mascot. She will be as bad or worse than a female 'Washington' Joe Manchin. Can anyone name one positive thing she has done for West Virginia? Just one? She supported Obama and continues to do so. The last thing this great state needs is another 'empty' Obama supporter in Washington!

    • MTNR

      She went after election fraud in southern WV and now several former elected officials are sitting in federal prison. She helped deployed military vote. She has lowered fees on businesses. What has Shelley done in DC? She's been there for more than a decade and she has drafted exactly ZERO bills that have become law. She's made her living by staying off the radar and not doing any work. Natalie is going to win this because she is a harder worker and more people like her. See ya, Shelley.

  • Steve in WV

    West Virginian LOVE Natalie Tennant. She will serve us well in DC.

    You have my vote!!

  • M Johnson

    Tennant for is like she was born for this seat.

    Go Natalie Go!!

  • Tina B

    She was ALWAYS my pick for US Senate.

    What an exciting time for West Virginia. Natalie Tennant is a real West Virginia girl. We need her in Washington so they see what we can do.

  • Jacque

    Natalie Tennant will be a wonderful Senator for the State of West Virginia. She is honest, hardworking, and will fight for us like no one else.

    My family and I are looking forward to her announcement tomorrow and for her to represent us in DC. Someone that will be FOR WEST VIRGINIANS!!