- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 7, 2010

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin said Wednesday he wants an expedited special election in November to fill the Senate seated vacated by the death of Sen. Robert C. Byrd, a Democrat.

State officials said after Mr. Byrd’s death last month their interpretation of state law was that Mr. Manchin, a Democrat, should appoint somebody to serve out the late senator’s term until the next primary election cycle, in 2012. Then residents would elect a candidate to serve Mr. Byrd’s remaining five months and also vote on a new senator.

Mr. Manchin, considered a top candidate for the seat in 2012, said Tuesday he would consider running in the special election, after indicating earlier he would wait the two years. He also said he will seek an opinion from the state’s attorney general on whether an election can be held this year, which appears to be the preference of West Virginia voters.

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, considered the top Republican prospect to run for the seat held by Mr. Byrd for more than a quarter-century, has also pushed for special state vote in November to fill the seat.

Mr. Manchin’s announcement could complicate plans by Senate Democrats in Washington to push through a major financial regulatory reform package in the coming weeks. With the West Virginia seat vacant, Democrats could be one vote short of the 60 needed to break a Republican-led filibuster and pass the bill.