In it, but not of it. TPM DC

High-Profile West Virginia Democrat To Jump Into Senate Race

Secretary-of-state-2008
AP Photo / Jeff Gentner

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has already signaled its enthusiasm, sending an email blast Friday morning highlighting Tennant's decision to return $3 million of unused funds in her capacity as secretary of state. The email didn't mention Tennant's plans to run for Senate but the Democrats' Senate campaign arm clearly wants Tennant to be on the radar of its supporters.

On Aug. 30, West Virginia's The Charleston Daily Mail published the results of a poll showing Tennant would make the race more competitive. The poll, conducted by the Daily Mail and R.L. Repass and Partners the week of Aug. 15-22, found 45 percent of those surveyed would pick Capito in a Capito-Tennant matchup. Meanwhile, 40 percent said they would pick Tennant and 15 percent said they were undecided. The poll had a margin of error of 4.9 percent. According to local news outlet MetroNews, Tennant was encouraged by the poll.

Tennant stands to attract the backing of national Democratic groups, including Emily's List, which previously backed her in her 2011 governor's race. Tennant also attracted attention as West Virginia's first female secretary of state.

A graduate of West Virgnia University and former television anchor, Tennant has previously served on the boards of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation and The American Heart Association.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid signaled Tennant's entry into the race in mid-August when he said in a Nevada radio interview that Democrats would be "very competitive" in West Virginia.

About The Author

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Daniel Strauss is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He was previously a breaking news reporter for The Hill newspaper and has written for Politico, Roll Call, The American Prospect, and Gaper's Block. He has also interned at Democracy: A Journal of Ideas and The New Yorker. Daniel grew up in Chicago and graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in History. At Michigan he helped edit Consider, a weekly opinion magazine. He can be reached at daniel@talkingpointsmemo.com.