There’s a lot at stake in the West Virginia Senate race – but whichever party takes the seat, it’s a win for women.
Poised to make history in the arguably red-leaning state, Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito and Democrat Natalie Tennant both won their respective primaries on Tuesday. The battle in November will be one for the textbooks, as West Virginia has yet to elect a female senator.
Natalie Tennant, the first Democratic woman secretary of state in West Virginia history – a position she’s held since 2008 – won by a landslide with 78% of the vote against two other Democratic challengers. Capito, the daughter of former West Virginia Gov. Arch Moore, has been a member of Congress for seven terms and has a 4-to-1 cash advantage over Tennant. The two women will fight for Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s seat, a Democrat retiring after 30 years.If elected, Capito – who is favored to win in November’s general election – will become the first Republican senator from West Virginia in more than 50 years. Though nearly twice as many Democrats as Republicans are registered to vote in West Virginia, President Obama’s unpopularity in the state – he won just 35% of the vote in 2012 – has indicated Republicans have a good chance at picking up the seat.
But the general election is still several months away and Tennant isn’t giving up without a fight.
Asked what the biggest difference is between the her and Captio, Tennant said on MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown Tuesday, “I represent West Virginia values and the people of West Virginia, where for far too long, [Capito] has represented Washington and Wall Street.”
“This is going to be a good old-fashioned race where we’re on the ground and shaking hands,” Tennant said.