Byrd's successor wouldn't face election until 2012

June 29, 2010

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant said Monday there won't be a special election this year to fill the seat vacated by the death of U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd.

Tennant said that, based on a review of state law and a 1994 state Supreme Court ruling, Gov. Joe Manchin's appointee won't have to face election until 2012.

At that time, there will be two races for U.S. Senate. One will be for Byrd's unexpired term. The second would be for a full six-year term.

Tennant said the situation is unique, but state law requires appointees to file for the office and then stand for election in a primary election.


West Virginia's primary was in May and the next primary is not until May 2012.

History not on successor's side

Manchin's eventual choice to succeed the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd will have a tough time staying in office, if West Virginia's history is any guide.

None of the five men previously appointed to vacant U.S. Senate seats survived the next election. One decided not to run. The rest lost.

Results for West Virginia governors seeking a Senate berth have been nearly as poor. Four have pursued a Senate seat while in office. Just one succeeded: Sen. Jay Rockefeller. The Democrat first won his current seat in 1984 during his second term as governor.

West Virginia's first governor, Arthur Boreman, left office to become a senator but in the days before they were directly elected.

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