West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant is running for Democrat Jay Rockefeller’s seat in the U.S. Senate.
Tennant confirmed her plans to The Associated Press on Monday, a day ahead of planned announcements in Beckley, Charleston and Morgantown.
Her candidacy sets up the possibility of a high-profile battle with popular seven-term Republican U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito. Capito announced her intentions to run before Rockefeller announced he wouldn’t seek a sixth term.
If each candidate wins her respective primary, West Virginia voters could elect a woman senator for the first time.
Tennant’s announcement was anticipated. Last week the National Republican Senatorial Committee issued a statement calling her a “cookie-cutter liberal.”
In an email to supporters Monday night, state Democratic Party Chair Larry Puccio called Tennant “the people’s candidate.”