West Virginia


The first announcement about the status of the US Senate seat opened up by the passing of Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) was that a replacement would be appointed by Gov. Joe Manchin (D) and would serve until Election Day 2012. But it’s looking more and more like voters may get a say in the matter two years earlier.

Manchin had earlier said only that he would not appoint himself to the seat. Now he is saying that two and a half years is a long time for an appointee to serve, and has indicated that he would be open to considering a special election this year to fill the seat for the remainder of Byrd’s term.

And although he has ruled out appointing himself to the seat, he has by no means ruled out running for it. In fact, he says he would strongly consider becoming a candidate for the seat.

According to reports, Manchin has asked the state AG to look into the legal ins and outs of the situation, with an answer expected sometime next week. That entails reviewing the initial decision in favor of an appointee, which came from West Virginia’s secretary of state.

There is no confusion among Republicans in West Virginia as to whether or not they want an election this year – they are definitely in favor. US Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) is calling for it and is widely expected to be a candidate as well.

RBR-TVBR observation: When it comes to fueling the political advertising category, it goes without saying that two elections are better than one. Broadcasters in West Virginia may have a surprise bonus political payday this year. Stay tuned.