The Campaign Spot

A Senate Race in West Virginia Is Supremely Unlikely

You and I look at a West Virginia state law that declares an election must be called if a vacancy occurs more than two-and-a-half years before a term expires, and note that Byrd’s term would have had two-and-a-half years left as of next week — July 3, and so we conclude, there ought to be a Senate election in 2010.

The secretary of state of West Virginia is not likely to say that today. And while we can suspect that this is merely a reflection of the DSCC’s whims, there’s at least one precedent pointing toward this, from 16 years ago: In a judicial election in 1994, a vacancy occurred on April 20, about a month before the May primary, but after the time for filing a certificate of candidacy. The state Supreme Court held that the state did not have to revise the filing deadlines or hold a special primary, and that the appointee could serve until the next general election in 1996.

And yes, the West Virginia Supreme Court is elected, and consists of four Democrats and one Republican.


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