West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant is said to be seriously considering running for the Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate in 2014. The seat is opening because of the retirement of long-time Senator Jay Rockefeller.
There is a long list of Democrats who have already passed on the race: Nick Rahall, Ralph Baxter, Nick Preservati, Booth Goodwin, Carte Goodwin, Robin Davis and Gaston Caperton among them.
That does not mean, however, that Tennant should be considered a last resort. In some Democratic circles, Tennant has been the logical choice all along.
She has a number of factors in her favor.
Tennant already has high statewide name recognition. A poll earlier this year by Mark Blankenship Enterprises found Tennant with a commanding 40 percent plurality in a primary with Davis (12 percent), Preservati (1 percent) and Baxter (1 percent), and the rest (46 percent) undecided.
She is good on the stump. Tennant, like U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, is comfortable in her skin and effective on the campaign trail, where she is ready with an easy smile, a laugh and a handshake.
Tennant was significantly underfunded in the special gubernatorial election of 2011, but still did reasonably well. She finished third, behind Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and then-House Speaker Rick Thompson. Tennant finished second in Kanawha County, the state's largest.
But Tennant also has significant hurdles.
The Republican nominee for the Senate will be 2nd District Rep. Shelley Moore Capito. She already has a statewide campaign up and running with over $2 million on hand.