Here's the bad news for Natalie Tennant: Natalie Tennant won't get any conservative votes. Tomblin, Perdue, Thompson and Kessler will get all the conservative votes. No matter how much Tennant's TV ads try to make her look like a tomboy, conservatives and the West Virginia Democratic Party establishment will vote for the boys.
Here's the good news for Natalie Tennant: Tennant can win without one conservative vote. All she has to do is win her two natural constituencies, women and liberals.
So the question is, why is Natalie Tennant's campaign wasting scarce TV money on ads that make her look like just another conservative? It simply doesn't make any sense.
I think Tennant has been hoping that her female and liberal base will do what she's failing to do, that is, reach out to her natural constituencies.
I think she's assuming that enough people know she's the only pro-choice candidate in the race that we will put her over the top with a word-of-mouth campaign.
She's wrong. Oh, we're trying. We're out here Facebooking and blogging and using Linkedin and Twitter but there simply aren't enough liberal elites in the East End of Charleston with connections to the women and liberals in the far flung counties who will only know Tennant from her TV ads that don't say how she's different from the boys.
The boys, by the way, are helping her. The frontrunner, Earl Ray Tomblin, is starting to get some grief for the corporate welfare he receives from the Greyhound breeding industry so I look for the conservatives - Tomblin, Thompson, Perdue and Kessler - to get negative and tighten the race. I think Tomblin's 30+ poll numbers will drop into the high 20s as voters start to learn who he is and Tennant can win with only about 30%.
I think she can get to 40 but not with her current campaign strategy. I think if it were generally known that Tennant is the only pro-choice candidate in the race women who go to conservative churches and sleep with conservative men will go to the polls and vote for Natalie Tennant. They'll lie about it, of course. They'll tell their pastors and their husbands they voted for Thompson or one of the other DINOs.
And I think that women who don't tell their pastor or their husband or their boyfriend the truth about how they feel about reproductive choice would go out to the polls and vote overwhelmingly for Tennant if she just tells them she's the only pro-choice candidate in the race.
And I know the liberals will. Trouble is, Secretary Tennant can't count on the progressive enclave on the East End to get the word out to the rest of the state. There's a myth that all West Virginians are only separated from each other by one or two degrees. That's false.
Tennant needs to pull her tomboy ads and go on TV dressed like the professional woman she is and tell the liberals and women of this state that she is the only pro-choice candidate in the race. If she does that, women all over the state of West Virginia will tell their husbands and their pastors they're voting for one of the boys but they'll vote overwhelmingly for Tennant. And liberals who don't know anybody on the East End and live in places where they can't identify themselves as liberals will come out in droves to vote for the only progressive in the race.