EDITORIAL: Is Tennant the Answer to Democrats' Prayers in U.S. Senate Race?

Updated 48 weeks ago HNN Staff
Natalie Tennant
Natalie Tennant

As the summer winds down, the State Democratic Party has yet to field a candidate to take on 2nd District Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito for the U.S. Senate seat held by the outgoing Jay Rockefeller. 

2014 is only a few months away, yet State Democratic Party Chair Larry Puccio hasn't produced a Democratic candidate for a seat that has been Democratic for these many, many decades.

Somewhere, former Governor and Democratic kingpin Matthew Neely is rolling in his grave. How could this happen?

Here's a possibility: In addition to West Virginia going increasingly "red" in recent Presidential elections, along with Republican gains in the House of Delegates and Attorney General's Office, the Democratic Party seems increasingly a mere extension of one Joseph Manchin III. 

So much energy was expended to secure Manchin's grip on the party apparatus that little thought seems to have been given the development of any other political careers in that once proud party. Think about it: Even the State Chairman, Larry Puccio, is Manchin's business partner. Perhaps Manchin and Puccio like a small, controllable West Virginia Democratic Party.

Having failed to persuade former Governor Gaston Caperton and other Democratic worthies to enter the U.S. Senate race against the formidable Capito, Puccio is said to be heavily recruiting fellow Marion Countian Natalie Tennant to get into the race. 

On paper, Tennant would seem a respectable choice:  She is, after all, a statewide elected official as Secretary of State, and if the general election featured a two-woman race for U.S. Senate, this would be a first in West Virginia and might capture the public's imagination.

However, there are reasons why Tennant has not been Puccio's first choice--good reasons.  For starters, Tennant seems to raise money from some of the most liberal organizations in the country.  Wait until the public hears about Tennant's association with NARAL, the National Abortion Rights League, whose radical, pro-abortion agenda would certainly be a show stopper in all rural counties in the state.

Secondly, Tennant has lost as many races statewide as she has won.  She may not want to risk a third loss for statewide office, even if she can finish out her current term as Secretary of State through 2016.  Too many losses marks a candidate after awhile, and Tennant already has two strikes.

Finally, many voters may wonder if it's mere coincidence that Tennant hails from the same North Central West Virginia county as Joe Manchin.  Following Manchin's attempts to get on Hillary Clinton's ticket in 2016 by selling out West Virginians' gun rights and touting the dreaded Obamacare, the public may feel that they don't need a Manchin puppet for a second U.S. Senator.

One begins to wonder just whom will be the next Democrat that Larry Puccio tries to drag into this U.S. Senate race if Tennant turns him down.  Ken Hechler is going strong at age 98.   Stranger things have happened.  And at least Ken wouldn't be beholden to Manchin and Puccio.

 

 

 

 

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