Obama 332
image description
Romney 206
image description
Dem 55
image description
GOP 45
image description
  • Strongly Dem (191)
  • Likely Dem (72)
  • Barely Dem (69)
  • Exactly tied (0)
  • Barely GOP (15)
  • Likely GOP (16)
  • Strongly GOP (175)
270 Electoral votes needed to win Map algorithm explained
New polls: (None)
Dem pickups:  
GOP pickups:  

News from the Votemaster

Natalie Tennant To Run for Senate in West Virginia

The Democrats have finally found a top-tier candidate to run for the Senate seat of retiring senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV). She is West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant. The first thing she said when starting her campaign is that she disagrees with the Obama administration's position on coal.

Running a Senate race on a pro-coal platform may seem like an odd thing to do, but West Virginia is an odd state. It is the second poorest state. Only Mississippi is poorer. West Virginia has a median household income $37,227, compared to the richest state, Maryland, where the number is $62,372. Nevertheless, West Virginia has gone from being a key member of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's coalition to being a fairly Republican state in presidential elections in recent years, even though Republican policies to cut taxes on upper-income earners have little value for West Virginians.

Consequently, West Virginia Republicans generally don't emphasize tax cuts in their campaigns. Instead, they focus on the fact that Democrats want to reduce the use of coal (because it pollutes the air and is one of the main contributors climate change). Hence Tennant's first task is to separate herself from the national Democrats on coal policy.

The NRSC is backing Rep. Shelley Moore Capito as the Republican Senate nominee. She is the daughter of Arch Moore, governor of West Virginia from 1969 to 1977 and later from 1985 to 1989. The senior Moore later served nearly 3 years in federal prison on corruption charges, so his daughter is not likely to use him as a campaign surrogate, even though he is still alive.

Although Capito is the establishment favorite for the Republican nomination, she first has to beat back a tea party challenger, Pat McGeehan. Conservatives have criticized Capito for her votes on the bailout of the automobile industry and the debt ceiling. As we have seen many times now, tea party challengers have beaten establishment candidates in Republican senatorial primaries only to go down to defeat to weak Democrats in red states and that could happen here, too. So Capito must tack hard to the right to get past McGeehan and then tack back to the center if she gets to run in the general election. This is never easy. However, given the lean of the state (Romney won 62% of the vote here), the Republicans are still probably slight favorites to pick up this seat. Since they need a net win of six seats to control the Senate, this is going to be one of the biggest battlegrounds.

Also worth nothing is that despite Romney's big win in West Virginia in 2012, the state has a very strong populist streak. All the statewide elected officials are Democrats. Tennant will no doubt try to run as a populist, attacking Capito for voting to privatize Social Security and Medicare. She will also nuance her stand on coal by pointing out that she supports the coal miners and their unions rather than the coal companies. Of course, if McGeehan upsets Capito in the primary, all bets are off and it will be uncharted territory.

Email a link to a friend or share:

---The Votemaster
Aug20 Ted Cruz Releases His Birth Certificate
Aug20 Lamar Alexander May Get Primary Challenger
Aug14 Booker on Track to Become Senator from New Jersey
Aug07 Kentucky and National Politics Get Intertwined
Jul23 Michelle Nunn Pre-Announces Senate Candidacy
Jul23 Liz Cheney to Challenge Sen. Enzi in Wyoming
Jul14 Schweitzer Won't Run for Baucus' Senate Seat
Jul14 Prospective Senate Candidate Sarah Palin Has Never Talked to State Republican Chairman
Jun26 Markey Holds Massachusetts Senate Seat for the Democrats
Jun26 Supreme Court Guts the Voting Right Act
Jun26 Is Ted Cruz Eligible to Be President?
Jun19 McConnell Threatens to Go Nuclear All the Time If He Becomes Majority Leader
Jun04 Lautenberg Dies, Christie on the Spot
Jun04 Rep. Carolyn McCarthy Has Lung Cancer
Jun04 Lautenberg Dies, Christie on the Spot
Jun02 Hagan Gets First Serious Republican Challenger
May19 Virginia Republicans Nominate Ken Cuccinelli for Governor
May19 Karen Handel Joins the Fray in Georgia
May04 Republicans Can't Find Senate Candidate in Iowa
Apr24 Sen. Baucus to Retire
Mar30 Republicans Gear Up for a Battle--with Themselves
Mar27 Sen. Tim Johnson Will Retire
Mar19 Head of the Republican Party Excoriates the Republican Party
Mar01 Latham Declines to Run for Harkin's Senate Seat in Iowa
Feb15 Democrats Avoid Bruising Senatorial Primary in New Jersey
Feb08 Braley Starts Running for Harkin's Seat
Feb02 Scott Brown Will Not Run in Masssachusetts Special Election
Jan27 Tom Harkin to Retire in 2015
Jan27 Rick Hasen: Republicans Won't Gerrymander the Electoral College
Jan27 Poll: Brown Leads Markey by 20 Points in Massachusetts Special Election
Jan26 Saxby Chambliss Won't Seek Reelection
Jan25 Republican-Controlled Blue States Considering Electoral-College Changes
Jan25 Are Robopollsters Cheating?
Jan22 Biden Inaugurated as Vice President Again
Jan22 Virginia Republicans Redistrict While Civil Rights Leader Attends Inauguration
Jan14 New Front Page for 2013-2014
Jan14 Seats Most Likely to Flip
Jan11 Sen. Jay Rockefeller Will Not Run for Reelection in 2014
Dec20 Senate Races 2014 - Part 2
Nov30 Senate Races 2014
Nov23 How Well Did the Pollsters Do?
Nov23 The Season's Almost Over
Nov22 Happy Thanksgiving
Nov21 Iowa Governor Wants to Kill the Ames Straw Poll
Nov21 Jim Messina Tells How Obama Won
Nov21 Massachusetts Democrats Panicking over a Special Election
Nov20 Conservative Republicans Fight Back
Nov20 Saxby Chambliss May Face a Primary Challenge
Nov20 West Tosses in the Towel
Nov20 Eliminating Loopholes Won't Get Us Off the Fiscal Hill