Capito has a voting record she has to defend, but she's used to that. Capito is also good on the stump and quick with answers to tough questions. Don't underestimate her ability to get tough in a campaign.
The National Republican Party is already counting the Senate seat here. Big money will flow into West Virginia to ensure that happens. Tennant would also be in line for considerable national help, but if she can't move the needle, that money could go elsewhere.
Tennant may also be thinking about the impact of a high-profile Senate race on her political future, should she lose. And, if she lost badly, that would be tough on the political resume.
Tennant is said to be interested in the 2016 Governor's race. A 2014 Senate race would be grueling. Negative attack ads are inevitable. Right now, West Virginians have a generally positive impression of Tennant. An intense media barrage could inflict damage that carries over into the next election.
Right now, Tennant is in an ideal position. She can easily win re-election to the secretary of state's job in 2016 or set her sights on becoming the first female governor in the state's history.
Meanwhile, Tennant's profile is enhanced by the considerable speculation that she may get in the U.S. Senate race.
Contemplating such a significant race must be stressful personally, but politically Tennant is in the catbird's seat. It's just that you don't get to stay there forever, especially if you have higher political aspirations.
Kercheval is host of TalkLine, broadcast by the MetroNews Statewide Radio Network from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. The show can be heard locally on WCHS 580 AM.