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Candidates in West Virginia Secretary of State’s race looking at debates

WV Press Report

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Based on public statements from the two candidates for Secretary of State, residents in West Virginia should be able to hear the candidates debate before the General Election in November.

Incumbent Mac Warner, the Republican candidate, in a newspaper OP-ED published July 2, challenged Natalie Tennant, the Democrat candidate, to a debate: “I challenge her to a debate, so voters may learn about both of our management styles and plans for the future.

Today, Tennant accepted Warner’s challenge to a debate and in turn challenged him to debate her five times across the state. Tennant said she wants to see debates take place around the state in places like Charleston, North Central WV, Eastern Panhandle, Northern Panhandle and Southern West Virginia. She said if in-person debates are not possible, she is committed to doing the debates virtually.

No details for the debates have been announced.

In her debate statement, Tennant noted an OP-ED she had published on June 12. Tennant outlined the importance of taking care of West Virginia businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the article, she outlined her successes in expanding services to West Virginia businesses and cutting fees during her time as Secretary of State.

“I’m proud of my record and the innovative approach we took to modernize the office and provide better services to both businesses and voters,” Tennant said.

“I’m eager to point out the difference in our management styles,” Tennant said. “On Warner’s first day he illegally fired 16 employees and cost the state $4 million. On my first day in office, I set out to save taxpayers money and did so over eight years.”

Warner outlined his position in his OP-ED:

“… Now that I have the Secretary of State’s Office running smoothly and operating efficiently, (Natalie Tennant) wants to take credit for things she failed to do as secretary of state in an attempt to get the job back. It is disappointing that she would take such a negative approach this early in the campaign. But that doesn’t surprise many of us, since she has a long track record of taking her eye off the job she was elected to do so she could run for other political offices while being secretary of state.

During her eight years as secretary of state, Ms. Tennant ran for governor against incumbent Earl Ray Tomblin, and lost. Then, she spent nine months crisscrossing the state again — this time, running for U.S. Senate against Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. Tennant lost that race, as well.

She failed to build consensus among stakeholders, and irritated the very people she most needed to succeed, the county clerks. I had to build key relationships from the ground up. …

I am very much looking forward to comparing my record during my first term to my opponent’s. Robust debate on the issues will show that my transformation of the office in a very short time took careful planning and detailed execution, quite the contrast to what voters rejected in my opponent in 2016. …”

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