CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Political prognosticators with Sabato’s Crystal Ball moved West Virginia’s U.S. Senate race from likely Republican to leaning Republican following Secretary of State Natalie Tennant’s entry into the race.
“She must think she can win and, I think, the national Democrats think she can win too,” said Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball which is a political forecast that originates at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.
Tennant announced her plans to seek the Democratic nomination on Tuesday. If she is nominated in the May Primary Election, she will likely face Republican Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito in the November General Election.
“Natalie Tennant is, I think, a pretty decent challenger to Capito,” said Kondik on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
A Republican has not won a U.S. Senate seat in West Virginia since the 1950s, but Kondik said the times are changing in West Virginia and Capito has the edge in the U.S. Senate race, at least early on in the election process.
The seat is opening up with the retirement of U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller. He was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1984.