Four Democratic Senate challengers running in conservative states are calling for Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki to resign over scandals at the VA, a move that enables the candidates to put distance between themselves and President Obama in states where he is deeply unpopular.
The latest to do so was West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D), who said Friday that "it's clear General Shinseki has become a distraction from the mission of the VA. New leadership is needed to earn back the trust and confidence of veterans and military families that the VA can deliver answers and find solutions to fix the broken system."
Tennant is running against Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R) in a state where Obama and the national Democratic Party are very unpopular. She joins Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), Georgia Democrat Michelle Nunn and South Dakota Democrat Rick Weiland, all red state Senate contenders, who have called on Shinseki to step down.
Shinseki has come under fire over allegations of long wait times for treatment and false record-keeping at the VA. But Obama has offered no signs that he is preparing to fire Shinseki. Shinseki signaled to reporters Thursday that he intends to stay in his post.
"I came here to do one thing, which is to take care of veterans and families. We've run hard for five years, I think we have good things to show for it, there’s more to be done," he said.