Skip to comments.Filling Sen. Robert C. Byrd's Senate seat (WV Law requires a special election)
Posted on 06/28/2010 7:19:02 AM PDT by Maelstorm
With the death early Monday of Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D), West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III (D) must select an interim replacement for a legend who many in the state and elsewhere consider one of a kind.
A quirk in West Virginia's laws appears to state that the replacement will likely hold the seat for the remainder of the late senator's record ninth term, through 2012; therefore, Byrd's death would not impact the partisan makeup of the chamber, nor would it directly impact the pending 2010 elections. However, there is some ambiguity in the law that has left some election experts questioning the what should happen with the seat.
State law mandates that, if a Senate vacancy occurs more than 2 1/2 years before the term is up, a special election be held to fill the seat. There were exactly two years, six months and five days left in Byrd's term when he died.
(Excerpt) Read more at voices.washingtonpost.com ...
“It is very well worth debating this. This seat if a special election is held can be a GOP pickup and a conservative one at that. It is well worth fighting for. We do not want to wait till 2012 and then have to run against someone like Gov. Joe Manchin which will make the seat harder to pick up.”
We should be jumping on this with both feet...if we are just going to roll over because they want us to, why not just give up now and allow this Federal Usurpation?
If WV refuses to hold a special election, the Senate should just refuse to seat the governor’s appointee in 2011.
This bit of common sense may require a Republican majority, however.
In actuality, having the special election benefits Gov. Manchin if he wants to run for the seat. He can appoint a short-term seat warmer and then run for the seat himself in a snap election.
If he waits and puts someone in for the longer haul, there is a chance that that individual may become very comfortable in the seat. It also allows other potential opponents the time to organize. I doubt the GOP has anyone who is ready, willing and able to run at this point.
The really big question here: does Gov. Manchin want to be a U.S. Senator?
The history of Governors appointing themselves to vacant Senate seats should not encourage Manchin to make such a move. An interim Senator could enable Manchin to run this November without that onus on him, and while maintaining the not inconsiderable powers of Governor in the meantime. Furthermore, if he lost the Senate race, he'd still be Governor until 2013.
If Joe Manchin appoints a solid liberal Democrat then it good help. Byrd voted against blocking EPA regulation of Green House Gases so interestingly enough it seemed he was more likely a Yes vote of Cap and Trade than Rockefeller which is an interesting shift since Rockefeller has always been the most liberal of the two.
Senator Inoye of Hawaii, and Lautenberg of NJ (age-wise, not # of terms, since he was sneaked in after Toricelli) as well. Stevens of AK was another but he’s out now. Of course TK, also gone - by death. Just adding to your list of ridiculous Senatorial longevity...
Byrd has stated his opposition to any form of regulation that would damage the WV coal industry, and specifically not allow for development of clean coal technology. I think he would have opposed any bill that didn’t leave open the clean coal option:
I don’t think many believe that regulation through the EPA is a long term authorization for the Dims goals on cap and trade. All that regulation can change quickly with a new president.
The law is quite clear, yet the dem governor will undoubtedly ignore it in order to keep his appointee in the seat longer and deny voters the opportunity to select their OWN senator.
The GOP is really pathetic if they don’t at least insist that the law be changed by the democrat controlled legislature so denying the people a chance to vote in a special election has a tiny semblance of legality
§3-10-3. Vacancies in offices of state officials, United States senators and judges. Any vacancy occurring in the office of secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, attorney general, commissioner of agriculture, United States senator, judge of the supreme court of appeals or in any office created or made elective to be filled by the voters of the entire state, judge of a circuit court or judge of a family court is filled by the governor of the state by appointment. If the unexpired term of a judge of the supreme court of appeals, a judge of the circuit court or judge of a family court is for less than two years or if the unexpired term of any other office named in this section is for a period of less than two years and six months, the appointment to fill the vacancy is for the unexpired term. If the unexpired term of any office is for a longer period than above specified, the appointment is until a successor to the office has timely filed a certificate of candidacy, has been nominated at the primary election next following such timely filing and has thereafter been elected and qualified to fill the unexpired term.
Proclamation of any election to fill an unexpired term is made by the governor of the state and, in the case of an office to be filled by the voters of the entire state, must be published prior to the election as a Class II-0 legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code and the publication area for the publication is each county of the state. If the election is to fill a vacancy in the office of judge of a circuit court or judge of a family court, the proclamation must be published prior to the election as a Class II-0 legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code and the publication area for such publication is each county in the judicial or family court circuit.
Note: Code updated with legislation passed through the 2009 4th Extraordinary Session
ARTICLE 5. PRIMARY ELECTIONS AND NOMINATING PROCEDURES. §3-5-1. Time and place of holding primary elections in the year one thousand nine hundred eighty and thereafter; hours polls open. Primary elections shall be held at the voting place in each of the voting precincts in the state, for the purposes set forth in this article, on the second Tuesday in May in the year one thousand nine hundred eighty-six and in each second year thereafter.
At such election the polls shall be opened and closed at the hours provided for opening and closing the polls in a general election
Gets more confusing when you look at the requirement for the election if the vacancy is more than 2 1/2 years with regards to the primary. W. VA has already held their primary on Tuesday May 11, 2010 and the next scheduled one according to their statute would be in May 2012 with the election in Nov. If that sequence is the governing criteria then it's hardly worth the effort to elect someone to take the place of the temp replacement for only a couple of months until the permanent senator is elected in Nov. 2012.
It will be interesting to see what happens.
the democrat plantation will replace
the old racist with a
new, post-modern racist.
Byrd was most likely senator in name only and others were making decisions on his votes. He always voted to protect the coal industry...recently I hadn’t seen that.
Just change the law to benefit the Demonrats as was done with Ted Kennedy’s seat and Obama’s seat which was sold.
§3-10-2. Vacancy in office of governor.
If the vacancy is to be filled at a general election and shall occur before the primary election to nominate candidates to be voted for at such general election, candidates to fill the vacancy shall be nominated at such primary election in accordance with the time requirements and the provisions and procedures prescribed in article five of this chapter. When nominations to fill such vacancy cannot be so accomplished at such primary election, and in all cases wherein the vacancy is to be filled at a special election, candidates to be voted for at such general or special elections shall be nominated by a state convention to be called, convened and held under the resolutions, rules and regulations of the political party executive committees of the state
It is baffling why the law is so clear here, but so ambiguous when it comes to a special election for US Senator. As I see it, the Governor can do anything he wants, which means his appointee will hold the seat until Jan 5, 2013.
My guess is much like yours in that the gov’s appointment will be the senator until Jan. 2013 with no special election being held.
Byrd was no longer voting - it was his staffers.
“Filling Sen. Robert C. Byrd’s Senate seat (WV Law requires a special election)”
The fact that even The Washington Post is stating this, is going to make it very difficult for WV ‘rats to weasel out of one.
I have written here on FR previously that West Virginia will eventually transmogrify into the most conservative state east of the Mississippi and north of the Mason-Dixon line, due to its demographics and lack of cultural “diversity”.
Having said that, who are the most eligible Republicans in WV to be considered for a Senatorial seat?
The WV law is flawed. It says more than 2 1/2 years requires a special election. But, it requires a timely filing for the primary, which effectively makes 3 years.
But does it?
Independent and third-party candidates have until July 30th to file and until August 1 to file their petitions. True, the WV law stipulates that you have to file for the primary, but this unconstitutionally requires Senators to be members of parties that hold primaries (e.e., Dem., Rep. and Mountain parties). What about members of other parties and independents?
I think it is reasonable to argue that members of non-primary parties and independents can timely file by August 30th, and that the AG or the courts of the state would do well to promulgate a rule to provide equal rights to members of primary parties (i.e., they too can file the requisite petitions by July 30th, when the 2 1/2 year rule applies but it is too late to file for the primary).
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