November Special Election Set For Byrd’s Senate Seat

Thanks to a late-night legislative session and a Governor’s signature, West Virginians will get to vote for a replacement to complete Robert Byrd’s term this November:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A deal struck Monday evening by Gov. Joe Manchin and state lawmakers will send West Virginians to the polls to fill the state’s vacant U.S. Senate seat.

The agreement calls for a primary election on Saturday, Aug. 28 to choose party nominees. A special general election on Nov. 2 will decide who ultimately fills Robert Byrd’s unexpired term, which ends in January 2013.

Manchin is holding a press conference at 10 a.m. today, and is expected to announce his candidacy at that time.

The deal brokered Monday guarantees a full primary, despite the wishes of some House Democrats that party nominees instead be selected by a party convention. That move would have saved West Virginia the $5.9 million cost of holding the special primary election.

Because the special general election coincides with the already scheduled Nov. 2 midterm election, the cost of adding a Senate seat to the ballot will be minimal.

In another compromise that pleases Republicans and some Democrats, candidates who have already filed for an office would be allowed to run in the special Senate election. The provision allows someone like Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, state Republicans’ most prominent candidate, to not only run for re-election in the House but also take a shot at the Senate.

The most recent poll of a Manchin-Capito matchup had the Governer leading the Congresswoman by 14 points, but the ability to run for Senate and House at the same time is likely to be enough to induce Capito to enter the race.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.