West Virginia candidate hits Romney on coal

West Virginia Democratic Senate candidate Natalie Tennant accused her Republican rival of spurning the coal industry by bringing in former presidential nominee Mitt Romney (R) to the campaign.

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) announced Monday that Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, will come to West Virginia Aug. 19 to campaign with her and other Republicans.

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Soon after her announcement, Tennant’s team dug up a Democratic talking point from the 2012 presidential campaign, reminding voters that in 2003, Romney said a coal plant in Massachusetts “kills people.”

“The fact that Congresswoman Capito would align herself with someone who believes coal ‘kills people’ just to make a quick buck shows how quickly she will turn her back on West Virginia coal miners to get Wall Street dollars,” Tennant spokeswoman Jennifer Donohue said in a statement.

The fight over Romney comes in a state that is one of the most dependent on coal for both electricity and jobs, where each candidate is trying to appear more pro-coal than the other. Capito consistently polls ahead of West Virginia’s secretary of State, but Tennant has also made support for coal, and opposition to Obama administration policies that could hurt coal, a centerpiece of her campaign.

Tennant went even further in her Monday statement, calling Romney “coal’s public enemy No. 1” for his policies as governor that closed power plants and encouraged renewable energy.

Capito said Romney is a strong supporter of coal.

“There are no doubts in the minds of West Virginians that Obama is to blame for the war being waged on West Virginia coal,” Capito spokeswoman Amy Graham said in a statement. “Gov. Romney won all 55 West Virginia counties in 2012 because he stands in stark opposition to Obama and his anti-coal policies.”