During a West Virginia Senate candidate’s forum hosted by The Charleston Daily Mail Editorial Board recently, the five participants were asked by one of the writers if any one of them could volunteer who he or she voted for in the last presidential election cycle, and the Democrat, West Virginia’s Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, took a different but similar tact than other Democrats who faced the same inquiry.
The question appears to be a troubling one for Democrats in more conservative states this mid-term. Georgia’s Democratic Senate candidate Michelle Nunn ignored the question this week, and the dodge was caught on video, while Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes refused to answer the question all together, when asked by a writer at a Louisville Courier-Journal editorial board meeting.
Prior Tennant’s response, four of the candidates gave relatively quick replies.
Libertarian John Buckley said, “Last time I voted Republican was for Ronald Reagan. I voted libertarian ever since. I actually voted for Ronald Reagan in the electoral college.”
GOP candidate Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) answered, “I voted for Romney as did all 55 counties in the state.”
Bob Henry Baber of the Mountain Party, an affiliation of the Green Party, responded, “I voted for Jill Stein of the Green Party.”
Constitution Party candidate Phil Hudok simply replied, “Constitution.”
Tennant, seemingly prepared for this moment, responded with an almost one minute speech regarding her disdain for President Obama’s “attitude toward West Virginia and his attitude toward coal.”
She begins, “And I voted for the Democratic Party, but I’m as angry as everyone else is about Barack Obama and his attitude toward West Virginia and his attitude toward coal, because I sat across the table from his EPA director Gina McCarthy and invited her to come to West Virginia and see how we (inaudible) roads.”
Tennant went further, “And when they didn’t come and they went on a listening tour all around the country, I took our voice and I took our fight along with West Virginia coal miners and West Virginia electricians and marched through the streets with them to protest the EPA and challenge the president that he should invest in advanced coal technology.”
She concluded, “And that’s why I should be elected, because someone was willing to stand up–I was willing to stand up for West Virginia and not worry about party or someone else’s position.”
While Tennant never gave her opponents a sound byte to pull from, President Obama was the nominee for “the Democratic Party” in 2012. Her opponents’ quick replies to the same simple question may make some voters wonder why her answer is about 10 times longer than the other candidates.