Tennant has served two terms as secretary of state. Before entering politics, she worked for years as a television reporter and anchorwoman in the Clarksburg and Charleston markets. She is also the first woman to serve as the Mountaineer mascot for West Virginia University.
In 2011 Tennant raised about $400,000 in an unsuccessful gubernatorial bid, according to watchdog website www.FollowTheMoney.org. She placed third in a crowded Democratic primary, behind Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and then-Speaker of the House Rick Thompson.
Following word Tennant could announce today, National Republican groups pounced. The National Republican Senatorial Committee, a group committed to achieving a GOP majority in the Senate, said Tennant was too liberal for West Virginia.
For weeks the race has received a great deal of national attention.
The Fix, a political blog for the Washington Post, ranks the contest as the top race in 2014. National political prognosticator Stu Rothenburg said the seat "leans Republican."
Anticipating Tennant's announcement, Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball — political analysts with the University of Virginia Center for Politics - changed their prediction for the seat Monday, from "likely Republican" to "leans Republican."
"With a successful statewide elected official now running, Democrats have kept the race on the competitive board, but it would still be a significant surprise if Republicans fumbled away one of their best pickup opportunities in the country," wrote analysts Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley.
They said Capito remains the favorite.
If Capito and Tennant win their primaries, it would almost certainly guarantee West Virginia's first female senator.