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W.Va. Legislature Will Vote on Compromise Election Bill

The West Virginia Legislature appeared to reach a compromise on a measure to provide for a special Senate election, with the bill heading for an evening vote Monday, the Charleston Gazette reported.

Both chambers of the Legislature were scheduled to reconvene at 8:15 p.m. for votes, the newspaper reported. The bill would set up an Aug. 28 special primary and Nov. 2 special election to elect a Senator to finish the term of the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D). He would have been up for re-election in 2012.

The bill had appeared doomed, with lawmakers deadlocked on certain provisions and a tight election timetable making passage Monday necessary for the bill to be effective.

But state House and Senate conferees were able to produce a compromise bill Monday evening that appeared to resolve concerns. The bill will only apply to the 2010 elections to fill Byrd’s term and clarifies a variety of filing deadlines and other dates, the newspaper reported.

The compromise bill also clarifies that the special election is distinct from the 2010 general election, which would allow Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) to run for the Senate seat and for re-election to her House seat. The Charleston Gazette was unable to reach Capito on Monday to ask whether she would run in both races.

In the meantime, Gov. Joe Manchin (D) appointed Carte Goodwin on Friday as a temporary replacement. Goodwin, Manchin’s former general counsel, is scheduled to be sworn in Tuesday.

Manchin is expected to run for Byrd’s seat, and he could declare a special election even without the legislation. Alternatively, Goodwin could finish Byrd’s term.

As talks developed during the day, Manchin canceled a news conference scheduled for Monday afternoon. His office announced in the evening that he would hold the news conference at 9 p.m.

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