West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, a Democrat, is running for the U.S. Senate. / Brittany Erskine, AP
Eight months after Sen. Jay Rockefeller announced his plans to retire, Democrats in West Virginia finally have a top-tier candidate in the high-profile race to succeed him.
Secretary of State Natalie Tennant declared her candidacy on Tuesday. Political observers are hoping Tennant and GOP Rep. Shelley Moore Capito win their respective primaries and face off in the 2014 general election.
Democrats currently have a 54-46 voting edge in the U.S. Senate.
Allies to Tennant and Capito wasted no time trading barbs. Jacob Winowich, executive director of the West Virginia Democratic Party, fired with this: "Congresswoman Capito has gone Washington and it's clear she is just part of the problem in D.C., not part of the solution."
Said Rob Collins, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee: "Natalie Tennant is an Obama-supporting liberal more in the mold of Harry Reid than Joe Manchin when it comes to coal and energy, jobs and Obamacare."
Expect more of the same in the coming months.
A Tennant vs. Capito matchup would be a rarity, according to an analysis by political blog Smart Politics. It would be the 13th Senate race featuring two women as the nominees of the two major parties and just the third without an incumbent, Smart Politics found.
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Copyright 2013 USATODAY.com
Read the original story: Democrat Natalie Tennant joins W.Va. Senate race