West Virginia Supreme Court Orders Special Gov. Election

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January 18, 2011 10:42 a.m.

Another state is going to have a gubernatorial election in this off-year, with the West Virginia state Supreme Court ruling that the government will have to hold a special election.

The governorship became vacant this past November, when Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin won the special U.S. Senate election to replace the late Dem Sen. Robert Byrd. West Virginia does not have a lieutenant governor position, but instead Democratic state Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin (D) became Acting Governor.

This led to a dispute over when the next election for governor would have to be. Tomblin had argued that it was not legally required to occur until the November 2012 general election — when the office will be up for its regular vote, anyway — while critics said that a special election was required before then.

In the end, the state supreme Court has come down on the side of Tomblin’s critics, which will set off a special election some time this year, before November 15 — the date last year when Manchin resigned and Tomblin took over.

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