West Virginia Governor Being Urged To Appoint Himself To Succeed Robert Byrd

Categorize this as one of those things that isn’t illegal but probably should be:

Top West Virginia labor and business leaders are calling on Gov. Joe Manchin — who local Democrats say is highly interested in running for Senate — to reverse course and appoint himself to the seat held by the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.).

“We just strongly believe that he’s the right person and we would certainly encourage him to reconsider that decision and in fact appoint himself,” said Larry Matheney, the secretary and treasurer of the West Virginia AFL-CIO.

Manchin spokesperson Sara Payne reiterated Saturday evening the governor’s previous statement that he would not appoint himself to the seat, and she added that he will not discuss the succession plan until the middle of next week. But that has not stopped some of Manchin’s strongest supporters and political allies in the state from saying the popular governor should go to the Senate sooner rather than later by placing himself in the now-vacant Senate seat.

This is apparently entirely legal under West Virginia law, and there’s little question that if Manchin choose to run for Byrd’ seat, he would not be challenged in a primary and would probably win the General Election by a substantial margin.

Nontheless, the idea of a Governor appointing himself seems to me to be something that just shouldn’t be permitted.

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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.


  1. Tano says:


    If he is the best person for the job, and wants the job, and has to appoint someone anyway, why not appoint himself? Why should he be forced to appoint someone who may be less qualified, or less capable of doing a good job? The people will have their chance to weigh in on the appointment, as they will no matter who gets chosen.

  2. grampagravy says:

    It’s like this, when the other side does it it’s legal but a sign of how unethical they are. When our side does it it’s just fine and dandy as long as it’s .00001″ this side of the line. In this case the “sides” are interchangeable.

  3. This basic story seems to appear almost every time there is a vacancy like this. Wasn’t there speculation that Crist would appoint himself a few years back? I recall that there was speculation that Texas Governor Ann Richards might appoint herself to Lloyd Bentsen’s seat when he became Secretary of the Treasury back in the early 1990s.