Senate hopeful cuts power to White House – in TV ad

In a new campaign ad, Senate hopeful Natalie Tennant rebukes the Obama administration's carbon limits on power plants by pretending to cut power to the White House. The White House power outage ad is the first for the West Virginia candidate.

David Emke/The Journal/AP
Gilda Kauffman, left, of Martinsburg, W.Va., greets West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, Democratic candidate for Senate, during a campaign rally at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center in Shepherdstown, W.Va., earlier this month. In a new TV ad, Ms. Tennant pretends to cause a White House power outage to protest regulations on coal power plants.

U.S. Senate hopeful Natalie Tennant pretends to cut the lights at the White House in a new TV ad opposing President Barack Obama's energy policies.

In the first ad for either major West Virginia candidate, Tennant rebukes an Environmental Protection Agency proposed rule to limit carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.

It's a common stance for politicians in coal-producing Appalachia, regardless of party affiliation. Like several other energy state Democrats, Tennant is trying to keep her distance from the president.

Showing the White House, Tennant asks, "Where do they think they get their electricity from?" West Virginia coal miners powerAmerica, she adds.

The Democrat says she'll send Obama the message before pulling a lever that simulates cutting power at the White House.

Republican opponent U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito responded in a news release by citing Tennant's previous support of Obama. The president lost in every West Virginia county in 2012 and remains unpopular.

Tennant campaigned for Obama in 2008 and was a delegate at the Democratic National Convention in 2012.

"Who does Natalie Tennant think she is kidding?" Capito spokeswoman Amy Graham said in a Sunday news release. "Obama has Natalie Tennant to thank for helping him get to the White House in the first place."

Tennant's campaign says the ad will run for two weeks starting Monday and reach 75 percent of West Virginia voters. The first week cost $120,000.

Ads for the Senate race haven't flooded TV airwaves yet, though that's changing. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent about $166,000 on airtime in December supporting Capito. The American Chemistry Council also has run pro-Capito commercials.

Along with Tennant's ad, the liberal Senate Majority PAC last week spent about $227,000 to start running TV spots attacking Capito.

Capito is favored over Tennant, West Virginia's secretary of state, in the race to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller. At the start of July, Capito had $4.9 million in her campaign account compared to Tennant's $1.5 million.

Libertarian candidate John Buckley will also be on the ballot. The third-party longshot has about $5,600 in cash after spending about $11,200. The former Virginia state lawmaker says the EPA has too much rulemaking authority on proposals like the emissions standards.

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