Updated: Election Ruling Ripples Through W.Va. Legislature

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Updated: 1/19/2011

Charleston, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia must hold an election for Governor this year, and lawmakers appear divided over whether party conventions or a special primary should nominate candidates.

Tuesday's state Supreme Court ruling mandates a 2011 vote. It says the legislature can change the current convention procedure.

The ruling is also fueling debate over the Senate's leadership while president Earl Ray Tomblin acts as Governor.

Tomblin took over from now-U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin in November. The unanimous ruling said Tomblin can fill that vacancy for no more than one year.

The Democrat has set aside his legislative duties to focus on the chief executive's role. Some lawmakers want him to revisit that decision. The ruling is also raising doubts about his agenda this session.

(Copyright 2011 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)


Charleston, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia will elect a Governor this year.

The State Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the state constitution requires acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to set a special election for Governor no later than Nov. 15.

That date marks one year since Tomblin took over from now-U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin.

As State Senate president, Tomblin has been acting as Governor under the constitution. But he concluded that its provisions and state law didn't allow the next election for that office until 2012.

West Virginia Citizen Action Group and lawyer Thornton Cooper disagreed, and petitioned the Supreme Court.

The state held a special U.S. Senate election last year following the death of U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd. Manchin won that vote.

(Copyright 2011 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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