In a state that has overwhelmingly rejected Democrats on presidential level four times since 2000, West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant couldn't have asked for a worse day on Saturday.
West Virginia Democrats held a rally in Logan, the heart of Appalachian coal country, August 2nd. Under the banner of "West Virginia is Not For Sale," a small group of supporters rallied to Tennant and other candidates.
They were also greeted by angry coal miners. They had good reason to be angry, as many of them just found out the surface mines they labored at were being shut down. They had one real question for Tennant: why did she support Barack Obama for President in 2008 and 2012.
Of course she had, there is really no explaining it away. She went on the road with her musket and Nick Casey, the state Democrat Party chairman in 2008 and the current candidate for the 2nd Congressional District, to campaign for Obama. She was a delegate to the Democrat National Convention in 2012.
Returning back to Saturday, she tried to avoid a direct answer until finally admitting she had supported Obama, deeply unpopular in West Virginia for his actions on coal and the power plants which use the black gold. The next question was why? Before she could answer, the chairman of her election committee answered for her.
“Because on most of (Obama's) policies and stuff, she supports.”
He is former West Virginia National Guard Adjutant General Allen Tackett, a close friend of the late U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd. The campaign has since thrown him under the bus, saying he misspoke. The General himself went on statewide radio to further distance himself from the statement.
The damage is done though.
Most of Obama's policies? Which ones? Even is she doesn't support his stance on coal, does she support his current foreign policy of neglecting Israel? What about the failed Obamacare? What about immigration?
There are two kinds of elected Democrats in West Virginia. The first kind are people with conservative values, but joined the Democrat Party in order to have any say. Some of those have flipped to Republican, such as 3rd Congressional District candidate Evan Jenkins. The second kind of Democrat is the one who pretends to be conservative to play to the voters, but otherwise supporting and being supported by liberal/progressives.
Tennant fits solidly in the second category. She has been openly supported by EMILY's List, endorsed by First Lady Michelle Obama, and has campaigned with controversial U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren. Even worse, Tennant has worked with Demos, a liberal/progressive think tank, to weaken West Virginia's election laws.
She'll grab her musket and try to promote herself as an voice who will stand up against Obama, while courting liberal interests in order to raise money for her campaign.
It's funny how all this started at a rally called "West Virginia is Not for Sale." Tennant seems perfectly at home selling herself out to liberal interests.