Look for a very competitive West Virginia Senate race
It looks like both parties in the open West Virginia Senate race got the candidates they wanted to run. Republicans have already begun coalescing around Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, who entered the race last year before Jay Rockefeller announced his retirement.
Now Democrats have a good candidate with statewide name recognition and a solid record.
West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, a Democrat, is expected to roll out her campaign for the open-seat Senate race next week, according to West Virginia MetroNews.
Her candidacy comes as good news for Senate Democrats, who were hunting for a top candidate to run for the competitive seat.
West Virginia Democratic Party Chairman Larry Puccio declined to confirm any impending announcement to CQ Roll Call but said Tennant had been widely recruited from within the state to run. A spokesperson for Tennant could not be reached for comment.
But the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fueled speculation about Tennant's announcement when aides circulated a positive local news story about her performance as secretary of state. The committee declined to confirm the report.
Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., announced her candidacy for the GOP nomination late last year - before Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., announced his retirement.
Tennant ran for governor in a special election in 2011 and placed third in the Democratic primary. She had the backing of EMILY's List in that race and might continue to receive its support for Senate.
The race is rated Lean Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
Capito's sex was never much of an advantage, but her conservastism is. With the state trending Republican for the last decade, Capito should benefit from voters in the state who are registered Democrats but tend to vote GOP. There is also a decided tilt among indpendents toward the GOP.
Tenant will likely be a formidable opponent but this one should still be considered to lean Republican.