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Tennant to enter US Senate race

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Secretary of State Natalie Tennant might be listening to a lot of Shania Twain between now and November.

Tennant entered and exited the Culture Center in Charleston Sept. 17, her second of three announcements scheduled for the day, to a loud recording of the country singer's songs. They presumably will be her theme as she travels the state, campaigning for U.S. Senate, the seat currently held by U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.

Tennant was introduced by former Adjutant General Allen Tackett and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. She was flanked by several Democratic lawmakers, including House Speaker Tim Miley of Harrison County, Senate President Jeff Kessler of Marshall County and Delegate Meshea Poore, who currently represents Kanawha County and is running for the Second Congressional District.

"I am so proud, probably more humbled, to be a daughter of the Mountain State and to be among you today and every day," Tennant said after thanking the lawmakers, her supporters gathered in the Culture Center, her husband, Sen. Erik Wells, D-Kanawha, and her daughter, Delaney, who she turned and gave a high-five to from the podium.

Tennant said in her travel throughout the state, which has put 196,000 miles on her car, she has heard from people who are concerned and angry about the direction of the nation.

"They are even more concerned about what the policies and politicians in Washington are doing to hurt our children's future," she said. "Folks are angry, alright. They're confused and ready to fight back."

Tennant described her platform as thoughts that run through her mind as she travels up I-79 to her family farm in Marion County, which she described as the place that centers her.

She mentioned the small businesses and community banks, saying she would make sure Wall Street "never again robs the working families of this country of their future," as well as the Marion County courthouse and how corrupt officials get away with too much in Washington.

"I'm not afraid of taking on corruption anywhere I find it, regardless of party or position," she said.

Tennant told media after her speech her decision to run for the U.S. Senate was not a quick or an easy one, but she had been reflecting on the decision since January. She said her family had been through tough campaigns, but she saw a void she can fill.

Rockefeller announced in January he would not run in 2014 for re-election after 30 years in Congress. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito announced in November she would make a bid for the seat.

Neither Tennant nor Capito have filed pre-candidacy papers for the position, but seven other candidates – three Democrats, two Republicans, one member of the Constitution party and one Non-Partisan candidate – have.

Tennant, who has been Secretary of State since 2008, is the youngest of seven children. She ran for governor in the 2011 special election, coming in third place with 17.39 percent of the vote.