Editorial: Tennant for U.S. Senate

In her campaign to succeed Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., Secretary of State Natalie Tennant has two unknown rivals in the May 13 primary election. She should win the Democratic nomination easily, and doesn’t need any newspaper endorsements. But we endorse her anyway, because she’s a bright facet in West Virginia’s political scene.

We think Tennant would be a refreshing addition to the U.S. Senate — certainly preferable to another Republican serving the privileged 1 percent, narrow right-wing causes and polluting industries. If the GOP gains more control over Congress, hope for humane American programs helping average families will be lost.

Tennant grew up on a Marion County farm, in a family of teachers. Both her parents and five siblings taught school. Her father sold cows to send her to West Virginia University, where she broke family tradition and studied broadcast journalism. (She also was the first female to serve as the Mountaineer mascot.)

After graduating in 1991, she was a news reporter for WBOY-TV in Clarksburg, then WCHS-TV in Charleston. She married state Sen. Erik Wells, D-Kanawha, and they have a daughter. They formed a small video and media firm. His legislative work was interrupted while he served in Afghanistan as a Navy lieutenant commander.

She entered politics and was elected secretary of state in 2008, then re-elected in 2012. She has performed well in the record-keeping office that also governs elections and charities. She managed so frugally and settled lawsuits so cheaply that she returned $3 million to the state general fund last fall. Her biography says she “has more investigations and convictions for election law violations than any other secretary in West Virginia’s history.”

Tennant would be an appealing West Virginian in the U.S. Senate. We hope she gets there.

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