EDITORIAL: Fundraising a Serious Challenge for Tennant in U.S. Senate Race

HNN Staff
Natalie Tennant
Natalie Tennant

Natalie Tennant received a stiff jolt back into reality this week.  A Democratic national pollster, PPP, disclosed that Tennant would lose to Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito by a margin of 14 points if the U.S. Senate contest were held today.

But the hardest news for Tennant is that, if Capito becomes her Republican opponent, Capito's fundraising edge seems extraordinarily hard to take on for Tennant, who currently serves as Secretary of State with a modest salary.

No doubt we'll hear from State Democratic Party Chair Larry Puccio that, while Tennant won't be able to raise millions for her campaign, she will raise enough "to be competitive."

That is code for "she's on her own," and now that Puccio has done his work at getting Tennant in the race, she's essentially going to have to find her own funding for a statewide race.

In the 2010 U.S. Senate race between Joe Manchin and John Raese, the candidates spent over five million each.  TV ads, radio spots, direct mail, staffing, and just the routine costs of a statewide effort all add up, even in a relatively small state like West Virginia.

According to published reports, Capito has already raised $2 million, with more on the way.

So where does Tennant hope to raise enough donations "to be competitive"?

Not from the coal industry or other energy industries in the state, given Tennant's vocal support for President Obama's energy policy.  And her environmental friends may prevent her from securing any help from the timber industry, given their objections to even managed timber practices.

Other state businesses, large and small, concerned about the ill effects of Obamacare on their businesses, can't be enthusiastic about giving to Tennant's campaign, either.  After all, Tennant stumped for Obamacare at the 2009 Racine Labor Day Rally. 

So where does Tennant turn for her fundraising? Good question. Maybe out of state hyper-liberal organizations like the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL)?

A U.S. Senate contest is a trip to the big leagues.  Tennant may soon wonder what State Democratic Party Chair Larry Puccio has talked her into.

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