West Virginia moving toward special Senate election this year


At first it looked like West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D-WV) was going to appoint somebody to fill the US Senate seat of the late Robert Byrd (D-WV) through the end of its regularly-scheduled term, putting it on the ballot in November 2012. But it increasingly looks like an election will be held this year to determine who will serve the remainder of Byrd’s term.

According to The Hill, the situation remains fluid, but Manchin is proposing to appoint a replacement for Byrd who would represent West Virginia on Capitol Hill until a special election can be held.

The election would take place in November, with each party able to hold a primary in August or September.
Manchin is expected to have an interim Senator named by close of business Friday 7/16/10.

Manchin’s proposal is to be in the form of a bill that clarifies the state’s succession policy and is expected to be taken up by the legislature in special session Thursday 7/15/10.

Republicans may slow down the works to clarify a number of related issues. For one, they would like potential senatorial candidate Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), or any other representative, to be allowed to run for the Senate and the House simultaneously; for another, they would also like to iron out the succession for the governorship, should Manchin wind up moving on to Washington DC.

RBR-TVBR observation: A surprise statewide election in West Virginia for the Senate may not be all that much of a windfall for advertising venues – most of the polling we’ve seen that presumes a Manchin candidacy pretty much puts the seat out of reach of the Republican Party — but it would certainly be better than nothing.