“WEST VIRGINIA CODE
§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.”
When I first read this statute, I agreed with your conclusion that the election couldn’t occur until 2012. However, I don’t anymore for this reason: It turns out that the filing dates for Democrats and Republican candidates — who are selected in primaries — is long gone. HOWEVER, the dates for filing for certificates of candidacy by independent and write-in candidates is STILL OPEN. In effect, their “primary” is simply their filing for a certificate of candidacy.
I suspect that if someone — anyone — filed for a certificate of candidacy as a write-in candidate, that he’d have a good case for a 2010 election. What if this caused an atty. general opinion that yes, it’s a poorly written statute that seems to assume a candidate can only be chosen in a primary and therefore be a Democrat or Republican and since a write-in candidate has filed for the office in a timely manner, then we have to have a 2010 election. It’s a flawed statute.
There was a WV Supreme Court opinion in the 90s that sort of addressed the subject BUT it was filed by a Republican and therefore the issue did not come up about write-in and independent candidates.
Interesting perspective. Would be entertaining to watch an independent candidate come forward.
Opinions vary on this, but I believe that Manchin’s chances of election would be better in 2010 than 2012. Lots can happen in two years and Manchin is very popular right now. He doesn’t have any money at the moment, but that can be fixed overnight. If the election is not until 2012, he must be very careful with his appointment - someone might get very comfortable in Washington during that period. Strike while the iron is hot is my gut reaction.
So, I’m thinking that a 2010 election might not be the best scenario for Republicans. Its a shame to have to wait two years, but that might be the best hope for a Republican takeover. Whoever wins the election, will likely hold the seat for a very long time.