CHARLESTON, W.Va. — “Liberal” is the first word West Virginia Republican Party Chairman Conrad Lucas uses to describe Secretary of State Natalie Tennant who is now a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2014.
“She’s been an ardent supporter of (President) Barack Obama since he came on the scene. She supports Obamacare. She’s been apologetic on behalf of the EPA recently,” said Lucas on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
Lucas said West Virginia Democratic leaders were “scraping the bottom of the barrel dangerously thin” before the decision from Tennant to seek the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in the 2014 Primary Election. She officially announced her U.S. Senate campaign during stops Tuesday in Beckley, Charleston and Morgantown and will be in Wheeling and Martinsburg on Wednesday.
Second District Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican, announced her U.S. Senate candidacy last year. Lucas said, to his eyes, Capito is the stronger candidate.
“Our presumptive nominee in Shelley Moore Capito is obviously very likeable, but she also wins this race on the merits and on the policies and the simple fact that she fights for West Virginia,” he said.
Though Lucas said Tennant is likeable as well, “This is a U.S. Senate race. We will offer a candidate who is also very likeable, but who’s also brilliant and also a defender of West Virginia coal, West Virginia jobs and our values.”
Chris Hansen, campaign manager for Capito for West Virginia, was highly critical of Tennant in a statement he released following Tennant’s announcements.
“As the Chairman of the West Virginia Democratic Party confirmed, Harry Reid and the liberal D.C. Democrats handpicked Natalie Tennant to be their nominee,” said Hansen.
“It is no wonder they picked West Virginia’s biggest supporter of Obamacare, the War on Coal and President Obama’s entire extreme agenda.”
During her Tuesday announcements, Tennant said she does not agree with the Obama Administration’s policies on coal and pledged to push for a new partnership between the coal industry and the government while promoting coal exports through trade policies.
The 2014 Primary Election in West Virginia will be held on Tuesday, May 13.