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West Virginia Secretary of State to Clarify Election Timeline

West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant will hold a news conference at 4:30 p.m. Monday to clarify the succession process to replace the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.).

Gov. Joe Manchin (D) will make an appointment to fill the Senate vacancy, but the state’s election code is murky about the timing for when a special election should be held. A special election to fill out the remainder of Byrd’s term could be held as soon as this November — an option that is not the most desirable for state or national Democrats. The more likely scenario is that a placeholder will be appointed to serve out Byrd’s term, which ends in January 2013, and that Manchin will run in the regularly scheduled Senate election in November 2012.

A spokesman for the secretary of state’s office said Monday afternoon that Tennant would give a clear interpretation of the election code and “lay out the complete timeline” for filling the Senate seat at the press conference.

According to the Associated Press, Manchin said Monday that he will not appoint himself, an option that had been widely speculated about.

John McArdle contributed to this report.

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