Natalie Tennant’s campaign for the U.S. Senate wants to use the government shutdown to try to make headway against opponent Shelley Moore Capito.

Capito, a Republican member of the House of Representatives, leads Tennant in a recent Public Policy Poll by 50 percent to 36 percent.  However, the Tennant campaign is more interested in poll numbers for Congressional Republicans following the government shutdown than the head-to-head match-up at this point.

Most polls show Americans upset with both parties over the partial shutdown, but Republicans get more of the blame.  For example, a Wall Street Journal poll found 53 percent believe the Republicans were responsible, while the next highest percentage of blame, 31 percent, went to President Obama.

The Tennant campaign is trying to make some of the fallout stick to Capito, and she is getting some help from the national party.

The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee is charging in a release this morning that the shutdown cost the West Virginia economy $104 million, according to data from Moody’s Analytics.  “Congresswoman Capito left West Virginians to pay the price for her recklessness and irresponsibility and they will hold her accountable in 2014,” said DSCC spokesman Justin Barasky.

The shutdown has cost Republicans in other states.  A Public Policy Poll last month found that Republicans in key Senate races lost ground to Democratic opponents when voters were told where the candidates stood on the shutdown.

Notably, PPP’s Tom Jensen tells me they did not poll the Capito-Tennant race because Capito has a double-digit lead.

So, how will Capito respond?  So far she hasn’t, declining to take the bait when I asked her during an appearance last week on Talkline for her reaction to a Tennant news release criticizing her on the shutdown.

Capito’s campaign knows the best strategy, at least when you have a substantial lead, is to ignore the opponent. A Capito insider said, “She’s keeping her head down and doing her job.”

It would be easier for Tennant to draw Capito out if she, or the DSCC, went to the airwaves with political ads, but it’s awfully early for that and Tennant is just getting her fundraising off the ground.

Tennant did raise more than $150,000 in the two weeks following the announcement of her candidacy, but Capito raised $777,500 in the third quarter and has $3.2 million on hand.

Senators Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, along with Congressman Nick Rahall, are holding a fundraiser for Tennant at Rockefeller’s Washington, D.C. home Nov. 20th.  The suggested contribution levels range from $1,000 to $5,000.


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  • David Kennedy

    The entire country and particularly the State of West Virginia has become very tired of the Democratic Liberal Mantra.
    They see it for what it is ...a suppression of their freedom and a threat to their livelihoods.

    Natalie Tennant is riding a 'dead horse this time.
    I can't say it any plainer than that.

    If she would run for Governor, she would have a great chance of winning.

    My feeling is that the 'Powers that Be want to brand her as a 'loser and get her out of the way.
    This election will do that.

    • Wowbagger


      Yep I bet you are right.

  • Hop'sHip

    I think they are both too liberal for West Virginia. We need a third-party, TeaBag challenger in the race, some one who wil push for the impeachment, tar and feathering and eventual deportation of Obama. Someone with a take-no-prisoners mentality in defending the state in the War on Coal. Someone who won't hesitate to follow the Cruz missile in shutting down the government to force the repeal of all remnant Obummer policies and put the Healthcare Insurers and Banks back in charge of the economy. And someone who will fight to restore trickle-down economics. Is that Palm Beach guy available? Not Rush. The one to his right.

    • Joseph Goebbels

      --Ja wohl, mein Hop'sHip, Vee knewz youz were always onez ofz uz -- Vee could of used a talentz az yourz inz our propagadize ministry, Ja wohl, youz haz zee gift. Come, vee drinkz to power of the state and roundz up zee t-baggzers andz neverz let real truth be known. Ja wohl

    • Charleston,WV

      Hop's: I am betting that's a trick vs a treat statement. Happy Halloween!

    • Shadow

      Finally, we agree! What took you so long!

      • Hop'sHip

        I did some acid this morning, Shadow, and now I am seeing things the way you do! Do you hear helicopters overhead?

        • Shadow

          I think someone stole your moniker.

    • The bookman

      Hope not!

  • mamasita

    What shutdown?
    Oh yeah, forgot about that.

  • CaptainQ

    Hoppy, this tatic by Tennant is no big surprise. The GOP led government shutdown WILL be used as a major campaign issue by the Democrats all over the nation. Can't blame them for doing this, were the roles reversed, the Republicans would do the same exact thing.

    However, as D.P. points out, the recent major 'nasty surprises' of ObamaCare might just overshadow the specter of the shutdown.

    I have to be honest, I was expecting ObamaCare to fail, but not in all my wildest dreams did I think that the ObamaCare website would crash/fail repeatedly and that (according to ten MILLION Americans would be sent letters from their health insurance carriers informing them their policies were being cancelled because of ObamaCare. How could Obama and the Democrats, the supposed 'smartest people in the room', miss this disaster? This failure is SO huge, even the Main Stream Media's slant can't sweep it all under the rug as it usually does any Obama/DNC miscues.

    In WV, I believe the majority of voters are more concerned with the coal industry 'shutdown' (escalated by Obama's EPA) than they are about the government shutdown that happened weeks ago. All the ObamaCare failures will do is give them even MORE reason to support Capito over Tennant. Bottom line, even though Tennant is trying to score political points by calling Capito 'out' on the shutdown, there's no need for her to respond. In the Mountain state, this will be a non-issue. Unless Shelley pulls some sort of huge misstep in the next twelve months, next year's Senate race is hers to win.

  • Melvin

    Dear Ron "from Morgantown" : Did you actually have point or were you just trying to see how many unnecessary quotation marks and unrelated sports references you could use in one paragraph?

  • Emily

    Does anyone remember what this shutdown was about? Obamacare! And more specifically, the final vote from the House (which "shut down the government") was to delay the individual mandate. Last week, Tennant came out and voiced support for the same delay!

    Is she really going to attack Capito for this? Tennant just said she SUPPORTS the move that the House Republicans made. What a joke. I hope the good people of WV see right through this hypocrisy.

  • Wirerowe

    The shutdown is a fading memory. The big issues will be Obamacare and the EPA and coal. Congresswoman Capito has long established positions and efforts that are consistent with the thinking of a strong majority of West Virginians on these two issues.Secretary of state will be running as fast as she can from the President's position on these two issues.. Usain. Bolt could not run away from the President on these matters.

  • ron "from morgantown"

    Its tough to trip ( or trick , given the day ) Ms Capito , she is deliberative and cautious when campaigning . She knows what to say and when to say it. She usually runs a gaffe free campaign . That's not to say she can't be beat . Ms Tennant needs to attack Capito on her record of ineffectiveness ,as in , can you think of one substantive piece of legislation or policy produced by her in the 14 years she has been in Congress ? -I honestly can not . Literally speaking , what has she done in 14 years in Washington to deserve a promotion to the Senate ? Tennant can use Capito's" politically cautious " approach in Congress to suggest she is ineffective and not worthy of a Senate seat .Capito has been fortunate in that she really hasn't had serious opposition in all her campaigns for Congress , allowing her to be comfortably deliberative while campaigning . Tennant must get Capito out of her comfort zone , put pressure on her like a "full court press" and see how she reacts under duress. This will be easier said than done against " gaffe free" Capito . Can Tennant deliver the political "knock out punch " to beat Capito ? Stay tuned .

    • Shadow

      All Capito has to say is: I didn't vote for Obummercare. That will be enough to win and she still will have the EPA thorn to stick in. Not to mention Fast and Furious, Bengazi, IRS and NSA. More arrows in her quiver than she needs. Tennant Who?

      • Concerned

        Don't count the chickens too soon. After all, elections are long way off. You are right though, in a year if ocare is sucess caps in trouble, if not, she wins. Think everyone is blindly assuming ocare will still be unpopular, that may or may not be the case.

        • Shadow

          There is an old saying, You can't put 10 pounds in a 5 pound bag. Relating that to Obummercare, you can't give a Cadillac Health Plan to 30 million additional people and not expect the cost to raise exponentially. . Obummercare is an unsolveable problem that way it is structured. There is no question that Obummercare will be popular to those that have it virtually free but very unpopular with those that pay the cost. The interesting thing is that the Government will be giving subsides/tax write-offs that have to be paid for someplace and by someone. .

    • The bookman

      Hey Ron...totally agree but is Tennant cagey enough to draw Capito out and is Capito dumb enough to let know the answer is no and no...I agree Capito has no legislation to hang her hat on over her 14 year tenure...sort of a middle of the lineup seat in Congress...not a lead off hitter...plays good defense...bats .255 with few strikeouts...she is however a contributing member of the team in that she helps you win the game and doesn't lose them for you...everyone needs a good second baseman...and in the senate in a close game she could hit a series winner! Tennant can't do that for West Virginia in the Senate as the Democrat agenda is not in our opinion of course!! Gotta go...thirty minutes or less!

      • ron "from morgantown"

        I still don't understand your "30 min or less" comment as it relates to the topic . I know what that means , were you or are you associated in some way ?

        • The bookman

          Long time ago...can't believe you think NT can play at this level...hope the pizza reference didn't keep ya awake!

          • The bookman

            South Park...when you stopped by I was the other smartest guy in the room....haha...hope all is well...go eers!

          • ron "from morgantown"

            No problem , just curious how u know I was with D ? Did we work together in Morgantown or Martinsburg ? How did we survive 30 or free without GPS or cell ? Lol

      • ron "from morgantown"

        Once Tennant exposes Capito as a" do nothing" Congresswomen , pro Capito counties in WV will fall like dominoes .

        • Red Dwarf

          So tell us, pray tell, what Tennant would do. Better yet, what can she so? She'd not been so capable in her current capacity - whatever that might be.

        • The bookman

          I think you're wrong...we'll see in a year!!! I guess that's why they play the game!

  • TD

    Good and fair column Hoppy. IF NT can make the election about Capito's voting record and the fact that she has been lock step with Republican house members she could have a legitimate shot at winning. Shutting down the government is just one of the things Capito has voted for that the majority of WV's oppose. The fact is the current Republican party offers no solutions to the problems the country is facing and Capito has been, like the vast majority of the majority's members, quietly going along for the ride. How can you say you want to balance the budget in one sentence and in the next say absolutely no new taxes?

    The real challenge for NT is making this election about the issues and positions, not about the red vs. blue propaganda circus that decide most campaigns.

  • Simon

    After years of incompitancy at the Secretary of State's Office, it's hard to believe that Harry Reid would pick this as the issue for Tennant to be the spokesperson for. In her short tenure she has made monumental errors that have cost the taxpayers big time. Harry Reid is best to stay away from WV, he clearly does not have our best interests in mind when he attacks coal and shoves Tennant in our faces.

    • MTNR

      Congratulations, Simon. You get the Gold Star for being today's Most Uninformed Person!

  • WhgFeeling

    So if Tennant loses does that mean she will be out of office in WV or is she allowed to remain in office while running? It is my understanding, a government employee must resign prior to running for office (don't think this is fair but...) I just was wandering.

    • George

      Hey Feel - where are you wandering off to?

  • blugldmn

    I'm a lot more concerned that Tennant is a staunch supporter of Obamacare and will do nothing but aid the current administration in destroying what left of coal mining in the state and forcing expensive soviet style socialized healthcare upon us.

    • Robin

      Yeah, sure, by all means save the coal industry in WV. After all, what's not to love in an industry that is filthy, deadly, highly polluting, and hopelessly outdated. WV needs to find alternatives to coal. Look what the coal industry has done to the mountaintops in our state.
      As for "Obamacare", which those of us with intelligence know is actually called the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" was originally a GOP idea. The GOP dropped the idea when the insurance industry pitched a hissy fit over the fact that they'd no longer be able to play god with people's healthcare.
      Anyone who calls the PPACA "soviet style socialized medicine" is nothing but a TeaPublican parrot. Open your eyes, people. At least attempt to think for yourselves! What sort of pathetic person wouldn't want everyone to be able to afford their own healthcare?

      • Poca J

        LOL.. Yeah you bunch of TeaPublican Parrots..Think for yourself.

        Don't kid yourself into believing that everyone that doesn't have healthcare is going to go out and buy it just because it is available. People haven't bought available healthcare for years at any price. That is the biggest exaggeration of this whole Obamacare disaster.

  • Medman

    Interesting discussion, but don't you think it is a little early to predict the outcome of this race? There are so many external factors that can swing opinions and polls, that I think we need to wait a while before claiming victory for either one.

    • The bookman

      Definitely early, but do you think Tennant has a legitimate chance...Rockefeller knew he would struggle to win and didn't want to have losing his seat as his legacy, or he would have Tennant a stronger candidate than Rockefeller? No way!! With the new regs coming from the EPA next year during the heat of the campaign all the Democrat votes in southern WV won't be a strength for Tennant...she'll do well in North Central WV, but won't be near enough to get 40 % of the total vote...of course it's all based on Capito keeping her head low and not doing something stupid..which she is good at doing...

  • Joe

    Wonder if their first debate will feature a cat fight.

    • vashti

      sexist comment joe

    • The bookman

      Capito would have to have two skeletons in her closet, a smoking gun, a few deep dark family secrets revealed for this to even be close...Obama is so unpopular..all see her for who she would be in the senate...another yes vote for Harry Reid and the President's agenda...she draws low 30's next November and Rahall loses on coal in a close one!

  • D.P.

    After the Obamacare SCANDAL, Shelley's (and Republicans in WV and throughout the country) poll numbers will rise, while NT's numbers will plummet dramatically!!! This state and Country have had it with ALL of the Obama/Democrat Scandals, and it's going to be reflected in the 2014 races!!!

    Would someone please explain to me why NT FAILED TO INFORM WV Dems that a Texas convict was on the Dem. Primary Presidential ballot alongside Obama? By the way, the prisoner got 40% of the vote. Isn't keeping voters informed during the election period one of the main responsibilities of the Secretary of State???

    NT (and her advisers) exercised VERY POOR JUDGMENT in deciding to get into this race. After a very lopsided defeat in the upcoming Senatorial race, she very possibly cost herself any chance of becoming Governor (against what appears to be an extremely weak field) in 2016!!! On the bright side NT, you still retain your SOS Job!!!

    2014 Election results:
    Shelley: 55% (at worst)
    Natalie: 45% (at best)

    • Vito

      So Sorry, But Mrs. Natalie "Wells" Tennant Will Never Win An Election When Running Against Shelly Moore Capito. Capito Is Evidently Doing Something Right As A Congresswoman Because She Has Won All Other Elections By Democrat Votes !

      "They" Will Not Talk About It, But Sen. Joe Manchin And Family And Friends Will Vote For Shelly Moore Capito In This Next Election Because Of Capitos Experience And Seniority In Washington,DC Politics And Also The Moores And Manchins Are Long Time Friends .

      As This Next Election Days Pass, You Will Never See Manchin And Tennant In Same Area And In Political Campaign Support Pictures !.

    • Marcus

      Capito is a do-nothing congresswoman. She has 13 years of history backing that up.

      She's never been exposed, nor has her husband. It will be interesting when their past catches up to them. It always does eventually and, with politics today, I think that time is 2014.

      • Richard


        What has Tennant done. Nothing- she has lived off of her TV gigs

    • Shadow

      The Convict thing is easy to understand, WV likes criminals in office.

      • Red Dwarf

        Please explain. Most of what you said stayed on your side of your keyboard.

        • Shadow

          Let me explain. WV is happier when they are taken by a bunch of crooks in government. Why do I know that? They just keep electing and reelecting them.

      • CaptainQ