Tennant Undecided on Senate

West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant said Monday in Wheeling she remains undecided about a potential run for U.S. Senate in 2014.

Tennant addressed a gathering of the state’s top female high school students attending the 2013 Rhododendron Girls State at Wheeling Jesuit University, which began Monday and concludes Friday.

After her speech, Tennant, a Democrat, said she hadn’t yet decided about a run for U.S. Senate. She also acknowledged any potential candidate would have to hit the campaign trail soon if they were to make a serious run for the office next year.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., is not seeking re-election in 2014, but no Democratic candidate has announced they will enter the race to succeed him. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and former Delegate Pat McGeehan, R-Hancock, have announced they will be Republican candidates for the office.

Tennant has spoken to the young women each year since taking office in 2009, often telling them how she had wanted to attend Girls State as a high school senior in the summer of 1985 but was not selected. On Monday, Girls State organizers presented her with a certificate naming her an honorary citizen of Girls State.

In her remarks, Tennant reminded citizens that each time she has run for a new political office, she lost in her initial attempts.

“Let me tell you something … people like losers,” Tennant said. “We want to see winners, but people like losers who come back and continue to try. You have to build up your confidence, and that’s what this week is giving you. It’s giving you the opportunity to try something you haven’t done before.”

During Girls State, the young females establish their own government, file for office, organize a campaign and hold elections. Also on Monday, Tennant and her daughter, Delaney Wells, 11, visited West Virginia Independence Hall. Tennant viewed the spaces utilized by the state’s first executive officers, including Jacob Boyers, West Virginia’s first secretary of state.