W. Va. Dem. Senate Candidate Uses Clip of Rival, Out-of-State School in Campaign Launch

by Andrew Johnson

Another senate candidate stumbled out of the starting block yesterday. In a video announcement to declare her candidacy to replace Jay Rockefeller, West Virginia’s secretary of state Natalie Tennant used footage of what appears to be West Virginia University’s biggest athletic rival.

As the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake noticed, Tennant used a clip that appears to be of the University of Pittsburgh in the portion of her announcement video where she criticizes Representative Shelley Moore Capito’s record on student loans. Capito is currently the favorite to win the Republican nomination. Below is a screenshot of the clip from Tennant’s video and a photo of the campus:

The WVU–University of Pittsburgh game, known as the “Backyard Brawl,” dates back to 1895 and the two teams played almost annually when they were in the same conference up until the 2012 season. Additionally, Tennant’s familiarity and past with WVU athletics makes the clip even more humorous: Tennant was the first woman to represent the school as the Mountaineer mascot in 1990.

A spokesperson with Tennant’s campaign said the clip was stock footage and was not used intentionally.

Tennant’s blunder is reminiscent of two other flubbed rollouts. In July, Kentucky’s Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes’s launch, which the Washington Post described as “underwhelming,” included having no website and using an old banner from her secretary of state campaign. Last month, Tennessee Republican state representative Steve Carr misspelled “sentate” after declaring his primary bid.