§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.
§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.