Give Natalie Tennant one thing: She has one bloc of voters locked up. Unfortunately for her, it's the liberal vote - and this is West Virginia.
Rep. Shelley Capito is going to be the next U.S. senator from our state. The only question is how big a margin she'll enjoy in November.
And the more Tennant campaigns, the wider it will get.
But all that was mere prelude to the main event, scheduled for July 14. On that day, Tennant will bring Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., to a campaign event in the Eastern Panhandle.
Yes, that Elizabeth Warren. The one many liberal Democrats wish would run for president, so they wouldn't have to settle for Hillary Clinton.
Just days ago, Warren took to the floor of the Senate to praise the EPA plan to shut down even more coal-fired power plants, driving up electric bills for tens of millions of Americans. "The EPA's new Clean Power Plan is part of the solution" to climate change, Warren proclaimed. No wonder the Sierra Club endorsed her in 2012.
But Warren has some familiarity with coal miners. Before going into politics, she was an attorney. According to the Boston Globe, she "helped write a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court for LTV Steel in the 1990s, assisting the former industrial conglomerate in its fight against a congressional requirement that it pay millions of dollars into a fund for its retired coal miners' health care. Her advocacy on behalf of a large corporation, opposing a mandate to pay for the health benefits of blue-collar retirees and their families, would seem to undercut her image as a middle-class champion ..."
Yes, it would.
How does she feel about abortion? NARAL Pro-Choice America, another leading promoter of access to abortions, gave her a 100 percent rating.
Gun control? She wants more of it.
Obamacare? She likes it.
Tax incentives for "alternative" energy companies? Though billions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted supporting the wind farm and solar energy industries, Warren wants more.
Does she have native American ancestors, as she claimed several times? No one knows, but, despite investigations, not a speck of proof of that exists.
Warren, too, is very interested in getting Tennant into the Senate. Warren's leadership PAC also has donated $10,000 to Tennant's campaign.
That may be because of Tennant's support of President Barack Obama, both before and after she was elected as West Virginia's secretary of state.
Tennant insists she opposes Obama's assault on coal-fired power plants - yet she worked actively for his 2012 re-election campaign, years after he began the attack.
Again, all this should lock up the ultra-liberal vote in West Virginia, for whatever that's worth.
Not much, actually. In 2012, just 36 percent of Mountain State voters cast ballots for Obama. His percentage was lower in only four other states (Idaho, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Utah).
So what on earth is Tennant thinking as she chums it up with folks who disagree strongly with positions most West Virginians take? If she's trying to draw a sharp contrast between herself and Capito - who has a strong record of votes in the House that dovetail with West Virginians' values and interests - she's succeeding very, very well.
Or perhaps she just needs the ultra-liberals' money. As of May 23, the last time candidates filed reports with the Federal Election Commission, Tennant reported only $1,681,466 in contributions for the reporting period. Capito had $4,302,316.
No wonder. Tennant seems determined to self-destruct by cultivating a liberal image in a conservative state.
Mike Myer is executive editor of The Intelligencer and the Wheeling News-Register. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com