When Senator Robert Byrd, a Democrat from West Virginia, passed away
opened up his seat for the first time in over 50 years
. With every major
Senate vote hinging on one or two swing votes, the status of Byrd's
seat could have huge consequences for everything from financial
regulatory reform to energy reform. Who will take over for Byrd and what
difference will that make?
- No Election Until 2012, Unless GOP
Challenges Ruling The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza writes,
"West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D) announced this
afternoon that a special election to replace the late Sen. Robert Byrd
(D) will be held in 2012, not this fall as some had speculated. ...
Democrats had predicted Tennant's decision, insisting the law was clear
and citing a 1994 case decided by the state Supreme Court that affirmed
the idea of a delayed special. It's not immediately clear whether
Republicans -- either at the state or national level -- will challenge
- State Will Hold Two Elections for One
Senate Seat? Doug Mataconis
tries to puzzle it out. "Basically what this means is the Governor
of West Virginia, Democrat Joe Manchin, will be able to appoint a place
holder to fill the seat who will serve from now until after Election Day
2012, at which point the winner of the 'Special Election' for Byrd's
seat will become Senator and will hold that seat until January 3, 2013
when the winner of the General Election also held on Election Day 2012
will take office." He adds, "Sound confusing ? Yea, well it is."
WV Gov Could Appoint as Interim Senator Hotline's Reid Wilson predicts, "The
most floated names include state Senate Pres. Earl Ray Tomblin, state
Dem chair Larry Puccio, ex-state Dem chair Nick Casey, former top
Manchin aide Carte Goodwin and ex-state Supreme Court Justice Richard
Neely. That caretaker would step aside for Manchin in '12. Manchin is
hugely popular, giving Dems a strong chance to keep the seat even as WV
trends away from them at the presidential level. But GOPers aren't going
to roll over and let Dems keep the seat they've held since Byrd beat
then-Sen. Chapman Revercomb (R) in '58."
- WV Gov Wants to Run
in 2012 The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder writes, "Make
no mistake: West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, wants to run for
Senate in West Virginia, so he will likely appoint someone to fill
Robert Byrd's seat who does not harbor additional ambitions. West
Virginia is a weird state. The Democratic and Republican benches are
very limited. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican, would be the
logical choice to challenge Manchin, but she's got a good shot at
becoming governor if Manchin runs for Senate."
- Good News for Dems ABC News explains, "Democrats nationwide are breathing a sigh of
already face a tough slate of elections come November. Adding in a
election in socially conservative West Virginia, even if the Democrats
were favored, would have drained more resources and attention at the
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