West Virginia Governor announces plan to fill Robert Byrd's Senate seat

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July 7, 2010

By Kyle Maichle

CHARLESTON, West Virginia: Governor Joe Manchin announced his plans to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the late Robert C. Byrd. During a press conference held on the morning of July 7, 2010, the Governor said to reporters that he would not make an appointment until he received an opinion from the Attorney General on when a special election can be legally held[1].

In a letter written to Attorney General Darrell McGraw, the Governor asked McGraw to determine if it's possible to have a special election in 2012 to fill the seat after a temporary appointment is made[2]. The purpose of the Attorney General's opinion is to confirm if Secretary of State Natalie Tennant was correct in her interpretation that no special election can be held until 2012[1].

After the Attorney General's opinion is issued, Manchin will release a list of procedures that will be used in selecting any temporary appointment to replace Byrd. There could be the possibility of the Legislature being called into another special session. The special session would be only if the special election has to be held on the November 2010 ballot. No decision on a special session would be made after Governor Manchin consults with the Legislature to determine if the current law needs to be changed[1].

Governor Manchin refused to comment on who he would select to temporarily fill Senator Byrd's seat. However, the Governor made it clear that he will not appoint a person that supports cap and trade legislation currently considered in the U.S. Congress[1].

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