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Special election in WV?

The report is that West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin (D) will be pushing for having a 2010 special election for the late Senator Robert Byrd’s seat.  In this he’s joined by Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R), who shares with Manchin a desire for the job.  Which is fine: neither politician is making a secret of it and they’d be the most likely candidates for 2012 anyway.

There does seem to be a general consensus that while a special election is not required, it would be desirable:

Secretary of State Natalie Tenant has already called on state lawmakers to revise the law to allow for a special election.

“For me, there is a distinct line between how I personally feel and what I can legally do,” Tennant said on her website late last week. “I personally believe that the voters of the state should be allowed to elect a successor to Senator Byrd sooner than November of 2012.”

The Governor has asked the WV Attorney General for his opinion on whether a special election would be permissible, and will hold off on an interim appointment until after the opinion is given.  It should be interesting to see whether the national Democratic party can stop West Virginian Democrats from putting yet another Senate seat into play: normally you’d expect that they could, but you get the feeling that Manchin doesn’t really want to take his chances with 2012…

Moe Lane

Crossposted to Moe Lane.

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