WASHINGTON, D.C. – With several months remaining before the 2014 General Election, political analysts with the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics say this year looks to be the year West Virginia elects its first Republican U.S. Senator since the 1950s.

On Thursday, the race between Republican Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va, 2) and Democratic Secretary of State Natalie Tennant was moved from “Leans Republican” to “Likely Republican” on “Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball,” a political forecast issued by the Center.

“There’s not really any single event that prompted this.  It’s just that, over time, we’ve just been observing this race and we just have an increased confidence that Capito is the favorite here,” said Kyle Kondik, managing editor of “Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball.”

The predictions, for races across the United States, are reached by analyzing polling, electoral history, candidate quality and other information from additional sources.  Kondik said, taking into account all of those factors, they’re calling for the West Virginia seat U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) currently holds to go to Capito — the Republican in the race.

“I just get the sense that the Senate’s probably going to come down to Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, Iowa, Alaska and I think that West Virginia is, sort of, increasingly being looked at as a race that you could just sort of put in the Republican column and say, ‘Oh, this is probably going to be a pickup for Republicans,'” Kondik said.

Republicans need six seats to gain control of the U.S. Senate.

Jennifer Donohue, spokesperson for Natalie Tennant’s campaign, disagreed with Kondik’s analysis.

“Natalie turned out 30,000 more voters in the primary than Congresswoman Capito because West Virginia voters are tired of Congresswoman Capito working for herself and her Wall Street friends at their expense,” Donohue said in a statement.

“They are ready for a leader like Natalie with a proven track record of working for West Virginia families.  It’s those West Virginia voters, not Washington pundits or Wall Street dollars, that will decide this race.”

Tennant is getting some help.

The Washington Post reported the Senate Majority PAC was scheduled to begin broadcasting more than $200,000 in television ads attacking Capito in Clarksburg, Charleston and Beckley on Friday.  The Senate Majority PAC, run by former Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee officials, has spent more than $25 million on races nationally this year.

Up to this point, the heaviest spending has been in Alaska, Louisiana, North Carolina and Arkansas.

In West Virginia, Martin Staunton, a former television anchor, is running for the U.S. Senate as an independent.  The Libertarian candidate is John Buckley, a former Virginia delegate.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 4.

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Comments

  • R.E. Burton jr

    Why doe the media just cover the 2 party's that are the same? What about the Libertarian's? What about the Independent and Constitution Party? All 3 of them have really good candidates.

  • Malinda Joyce Church

    Malinda Joyce Church

    There is another candidate in the election for the United States Senate--------that is John Buckley.

    He is both Republican and Libertarian. John is well-versed in politics. John is a person who knows Washington and how to traverse the in's and out's of Washington politics.

    I worked in politics with John when we elected Reagan in Virginia and also my native West Virginia went for Reagan-.

    We can't bring Reagan back; however we can elect some of the dynamic, intelligent people like John Buckley to the United States Senate.

    John Buckley will work for West Virginia, for you and for our nation.

    We need John Buckley to challenge the Obama policies that will be coming to the U.S. Senate.

    Joyce Church Sutcliffe

    August 14, 2014 at 1:19 am | Repl

  • Malinda Joyce Church

    There is another candidate in the election for the United States Senate--------that is John Buckley.

    He is both Republican and Libertarian. John is well-versed in politics. John is a person who knows Washington and how to traverse the in's and out's of Washington politics.

    I worked in politics with John when we elected Reagan in Virginia and also my native West Virginia went for Reagan-.

    We can't bring Reagan back; however we can elect some of the dynamic, intelligent people like John Buckley to the United States Senate.

    John Buckley will work for West Virginia, for you and for our nation.

    We need John Buckley to challenge the Obama policies that will be coming to the U.S. Senate.

    Joyce Church Sutcliffe

  • Bob Wilson

    I never thought in my lifetime, I would see a Republican Senator for WV. I think it is telling that the Democrat party has strayed so far from its origins that such an event could happen. If you are attached to the coal business, you would be foolish to enable the obama gang with a Senate vote. If you earn more than the poverty line and receive nothing from the government, you probably aren't voting democrat. The health care law has screwed up so bad, those people aren't voting democrat. So congratulations to the administration, you have proved you can screw up enough to lose a sure seat in a state you have taken for granted as a sure vote. Kudos to West Virginians for being independent enough to realize it.

  • Smart Alec

    The Republican party is in such disarray these days which is a real shame. It's certainly no longer the party I joined more than 35 years ago. Of course it's not surprising this non story came out of the University of Virginia. They get so many things wrong over there. Come November, they will be proven wrong once again as Tennant packs her bags for Washington. Go Natalie!

    • Jonus Grumby

      My an@l cataracts are acting up again. In other words, my @ss can't see that happening.

    • Mac

      You ARE a Smart Alec!
      Shirley M. Capito is a shoe-in!!! More than 50% of WV Democrats have awakened to the fact that the mess we are in was brought on BY DEMOCRATS! True, there are, and always will be the Party Faithful, but the smarter West Virginia Democrats who have painful “blank stares” in their eyes are beginning to understand that the DEMS could care less about our state, use if for their own political gain, promise us everything, then forget about us when they get into those cushioned chairs in D.C. So with Capito ready to join other "newly elected Republican Senators," BOTH Houses will be under Republican leadership and the “Jackass party” (Dum-o-crats) will finally stop ruining this nation. I can't wait to read the loyal, liberal democrats response to this oration. It's fun to read the "losing side's" rants as to how great the D. Party is and how they've lead us down that rosy path for decades. How rosy does it look now, folks? Everyone needs to get up out of their lazy-boy rockers and look at the sad shape our state is in right now. Mines being shut down, jobs dwindling, state highways crumbling, communities lacking sufficient resources to maintain fire and police protection, and on and on. But then again, that's what the Dems of WV have given to us, and they quietly hope we're dumb enough to put them back in office. NOT THIS TIME, BOYS! A new dawn is approaching! Beware of the tidal wave!!

    • Mitch

      @ Smart Alec,

      Neither is the Democratic Party. Just because one is bad, doesn't mean the other is automatically good.
      Just remember what all that "Hope and Change" got us the last time, because all Tennant is is a watered down Obama wannabe, only with even LESS credentials.....if that's even possible.

  • Gary

    I don't care for either one of them but we don't need another Obama puppet like Rockefeller was. No vote for Tennant.

  • John of Wayne

    A leader? A proven track record of working for WV families? Really?

  • PMQ

    Natalie Tennant???? HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA......really funny!

  • Mitch

    @ Sarah,

    The only thing Republicans are worried about on this one is covering the spread in Vegas sweetie.

  • Sarah

    It sounds like the Republicans are more worried about the idea Capito isn't a sure win than they are anything else.

    No one should take a seat for granted. Ask Eric Cantor about it.

    • The bookman

      The only thing that concerns me is will the race be closer to Aaron's standing position of a 7 point win or deeper into the double digits that I forecasted. Either way, Tennant goes back to Charleston and Capito goes back to Washington as a member of the majority in the Senate.

  • David Kennedy

    America is in revolt...
    What is not mentioned is this...at least 10 and possibly 12 Senate races are going to have Republican winners.
    That will be the end of the Obama-nation.
    Harry Reid will be replaced and the country can begin to heal itself...thank you, God.
    What is more incredible...
    We will have saved the country without gunfire..

    • Tracyo64

      If you expect changes, you gotta get rid of Pelosi also.

  • DP

    2014 General Election Results:

    Shelley 56% (At Least)
    Natalie 44% (At Best)

    Based on whom N.T.'s fundraising and cavorting with, it's 100% obvious she would be NOTHING but an automatic vote for the Bystander in Chief and all of his Far Left Wackjob Lemmings!!!

    Maybe I missed it (I'm almost certain I didn't) but why did N.T. NOT INFORM WV Democratic voters that a Texas prisoner was on the ballot vs. Obama? Methinks Natalie was asleep on the job!!!!

    • R.E. Burton jr

      Wrong!! You are severely discounting the American peoples dissatisfaction with the "run of the mill" politicians whether they be Dem or Rep.

  • Independent View

    “...They are ready for a leader like Natalie with a proven track record of working for West Virginia families."
    HOW, as a mascot and a news reader did Ms. Tennant, acquire this "proven" track record?
    If I were running for an elected office and my spokesperson made such a lame statement as Jennifer Donohue, I would had her a $5bill and 2 quarters and tell her to go down the street to Star Bucks, buy herself cup of their overpriced coffee, step outside to the Charleston Newspaper's curbside vending machine, use the 2 quarters to buy a copy of the Daily Mail and start checked the "want ads" for a new job! Then, go home and log-on to her personal computer and start plastering her resume' all over the Internet.
    Ms. Donohue & Natalie, is this the best you have?????

  • richard

    I love these conservative Republicans that like to claim that capito is conservative. That woman doesn't have a conservative bone in her body. All she cares about is anything that will benefit her and her husband. Oh, and to all you so called pro lifers - she is just as pro choice as any democrat - always has been. Check it out.

    • Mitch

      @ richard,
      I love these liberal democrats that think Natalie Tennant has any kind of "record" of anything. She's the biggest NOTHING to ever wander down the pike.
      She's a stuffed suit of zero substance. She stands for nothing, she knows nothing, and she has accomplished nothing.
      Mark my words, her campaign ads will not say one word about what she can or will do, because in truth she can't do ANYTHING. She can only stand on the sidelines and throw rocks at Capito. That's her whole, entire "platform".
      What a joke.

      • richard

        OK.... As I've said before, name one, just one, constructive thing Capito has done while in office.

  • Nicolay'sDilemma

    Any REAL change is going to come from Mr. Buckley. I'll give you great odds that if you put the Libertarian platform up against Ms. Capito's policies, you would be more in agreement with the LP's position every time. Ms. Capito has been simply the lapdog for the House leadership, do polls not show that Americans say a pox on both your houses?

    I'm enough of a realist to know that third parties are the garbage of American politics. Still and yet, I would think a Libertarian candidate would draw more interest from West Virginia voters, given their more conservative than conservative bent.

    • Aaron

      I have said for years that neither Republicans or Democrats represent the majority of Americans and have been a supporter of Libertarian candidates in the past. The problem is that in the two party system, both parties do all they can to keep outsiders out so they can maintain control. Both would rather share it with one than risk losing out to a third. I shall do so research on Mr. Buckley and perhaps he will earn my vote.

    • Aaron

      The only problem with your statement is that Mr. Buckley is not running for this office.

      • Sarah

        Yes he is -- you are very misinformed. (Not the first time)

        http://www.lpwv.org/john_buckley

        • Aaron

          My apologies, I had Rabel on my mind when I posted that. You are correct.

        • Jason412

          Thanks for the link, Sarah.

          " Specifically, I favor: 1) across-the-board tax cuts (more money in our own pockets), 2) drastically reducing government spending, 3) an end to special favors to corporate insiders, and 4) a cease-fire in the ruinously expensive, counter-productive, and crime-enhancing “War on Drugs.”

          Very interesting. He stands a lot better chance of getting my vote than SMC or NT.