- Associated Press - Friday, January 22, 2016

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Here is the latest on a key West Virginia Senate vacancy (all times local):

2 p.m.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has appointed a Republican replacement senator in adherence to a state Supreme Court ruling.

On Friday, the Democratic governor appointed Sue Cline to the vacancy left by former Wyoming County Sen. Daniel Hall.

Hall was elected as a Democrat in 2012 and turned Republican after the 2014 elections, establishing an 18-16 GOP majority. Hall recently resigned.

In a petition to the high court, Democratic attorneys said state law is ambiguous about filling the seat of someone who flipped parties.

On Friday, the court ruled that the law clearly requires a Republican replacement.

A ruling favorable to Democrats would have deadlocked the Senate.

Cline lives in Brenton and works at Century 21 First Choice Realty in Beckley. There is only one other woman in the Senate.

___

11:24 a.m.

The West Virginia Supreme Court has ordered that a Republican fill a state Senate vacancy, allowing the GOP to maintain its majority.

In a 3-1 decision Friday, the court ruled that state law is not ambiguous about replacing a former senator who flipped parties.

Ex-Wyoming County Sen. Daniel Hall was elected as a Democrat in 2012 and turned Republican after the 2014 elections, establishing an 18-16 GOP majority. Hall recently resigned.

Democratic attorneys said state law is ambiguous about filling the seat. They said a Democratic replacement upholds the will of the voters. Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said he would’ve appointed a Democrat.

Republican counsel said the statute is clear in their favor.

Justice Robin Davis dissented. Justice Brent Benjamin recused himself.

A Democratic appointment would have deadlocked the Senate.

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