Tennant Jumps Into Race For Governor

Another elected official in West Virginia has joined the race for governor in 2011.

Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, a Kanawha County resident, on Wednesday became the fourth Democrat to file for the May 14 special primary election. She joins a Democratic ballot that thus far includes acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin of Logan County; House Speaker Richard Thompson of Wayne County; and Kanawha County resident Arne Moltis.

State Sen. Clark Barnes of Randolph County is the only candidate who has filed on the Republican ticket. But former Secretary of State Betty Ireland of Kanawha County – joining Barnes in Wheeling on Wednesday for a candidate forum – said she planned to file this morning.

Candidates have until 5 p.m. Saturday to file in the special governor’s election, and Tennant’s office will conduct a drawing for ballot placement at 5 p.m. Sunday. Ballots will be uniform in all of West Virginia’s 55 counties.

The special primary election in the race is set for May 14; and the general election for Oct. 4.

Other candidates who have announced interest in running for governor in 2011 and could file before the Saturday deadline are: Democrats – Jeff Kessler of Marshall County, who currently serves as acting state senate president and Treasurer John Perdue of Kanawha County; Republicans – Putnam County Prosecutor Mark Sorsaia and Delegate Patrick Lane of Kanawha County.

The Secretary of State’s Office lists Jesse Johnson, who made a run for U.S. senator last year, as a pre-candidate for the Mountain Party from Kanawha County.

Candidates are seeking to fill the term left vacant by the former governor, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who resigned as governor Nov. 15 to serve in the U.S. Senate. The term extends until late January 2013.

The candidate who wins in 2011 is eligible to run for re-election in 2012 but could only serve one full four-year term, according to Ireland.