CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — U.S. Senate hopeful Natalie Tennant raised about $153,000 in the weeks after she announced her candidacy this fall, according to federal campaign finance reports.
Tennant is vying to replace retiring Democratic U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who announced in January that he would not seek a sixth term. Rockefeller's retirement has put a seat held by Democrats since 1958 in jeopardy.
Tennant is West Virginia's Secretary of State and was recruited by Democratic officials to enter the race, making it unlikely she will face a primary challenger.
Tennant announced her candidacy in mid-September, about nine months after Republican U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito had already entered the Senate race. Capito was in the West Virginia House of Delegates when she first ran for Congress in 2000. Her father, Arch Moore, had been Rockefeller's chief political rival several decades ago. Moore defeated Rockefeller in the 1972 race for governor, but then lost to him in a 1980 rematch.
While Democrats still outnumber Republicans by a 2-to-1 margin in voter registration, West Virginians have gone for Republicans in the last several presidential elections and two of the three U.S. House seats are now held by Republicans. Capito won a seventh term in the House last fall with about 70 percent of her district's vote.
By the time Tennant entered the race, Capito already had a substantial fundraising and organizational lead.
Capito's most recent Federal Election Commission report showed that she had more than $2.8 million in cash on hand at the end of June, and had already spent more than $400,000 on the race by then. Capito's October quarterly report had not been posted on the FEC's website as of Thursday.
Tennant's October quarterly report shows that about one-third of her campaign contributions came from political action committees, including $5,000 from the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees PEOPLE. Tennant's campaign finance report says she had about $151,000 in cash on hand at the end of September.
Brock Vergakis can be reached at www.twitter.com/BrockVergakis