West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant has been accused of violating West Virginia’s election law after staging a rally for her campaign for U.S. Senate outside a polling place Wednesday.
Tennant campaigned outside the Kanawha County Clerk's Office, a building on county courthouse property, where voters flocked to for the first day of early voting. Campaigning on courthouse property is strictly prohibited.
Kanawha County Clerk Vera McCormick blasted Tennant over the allegations. WCHS reported:
"The video you just showed me showed that Mrs. Tennant was at our front door at early voting, and she was thanking them for being part of her organization and supporting her and the state," McCormick said after watching the video. "Mrs. Tennant, she knows the law. She's the Secretary of State."
Tennant’s campaign-charged opponent, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R., W. Va.), of reporting the violation to distract voters. Capito arrived the courthouse to cast her own early ballot and found Tennant rallying outside. Tennant then accused Capito of campaigning outside the polling center, sparking fury from Capito's communications director, Amy Graham.
"Unlike Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, who apparently feels she doesn’t have to follow her own rules, the Capito campaign took extra precautions to ensure all the rules were followed," Graham said. "Natalie Tennant’s failure to follow her own rules is more proof she isn’t ready to be West Virginia’s next U.S. Senator."
Capito, who has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2001, leads Tennant by 17 points.