§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.