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.
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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