Natalie Tennant tossed her hat into the gubernatorial ring last week, confirming long held suspicions of her ambition.
Tennant was the first female Mountaineer and is well-known as a newscaster in the Charleston-Huntington market. Her hometown is in Marion County, giving her connections with two of the largest centers of population in West Virginia. She rode that name recognition as well as a winning personality to victory in the Secretary of State race. Now she is taking a serious gamble.
Earl Ray Tomblin, current acting governor, has the advantage of semi-incumbency and a long career behind him in the State Legislature. However, his southern West Virginia base could hurt him in the eastern counties. It is also difficult for long term legislators at any level to compete for statewide office because of their lengthy voting record. It's easy for opponents to highlight votes and stances at different points out of context. Tennant's lack of experience means that she has very little to attack, outside of her lack of experience.
And that in itself is dangerous. With uncertain economic times and our state economy under attack by the federal government itself, we need a governor who will stand up to the feds and protect our jobs and interests. There is no evidence that Natalie Tennant has any track record at all in fighting for this state. Republican candidates and Earl Ray Tomblin himself understand that coal is a vital part of our state economy. What has Tennant done in her career that has shown support for state jobs?
Democratic voters need to think about experience when they head to the polls, as opposed to personality.