Many readers of phillipsbillboard do not read The Charleston Gazette on a daily basis nor desire to. There is an excellent historic perspective prepared by The Associated Press on appointees being named to vacant U. S. Senate seats in West Virginia.
It could explain why Governor Manchin does not wish to occupy the seat of the late Senator Robert C. Byrd even on a temporary basis. The AP research has revealed none of the five West Virginians appointed to vacant U. S. Senate seats survived the next election – one decided not to run; the rest lost.
It is understandable why Governor Manchin wants to complete his term. First, he promised. Secondly, if there is no special election until November 2012 he remains politically safe.
There is one element important to West Virginia that may be being over looked. That being seniority in the United States Senate. Senator Byrd proved its importance.
Should Governor Manchin or anyone he names enter the Senate now they would gain over two year of seniority – assuming they were elected to the full term in 2012. That may not sound important today but it is. Even more so in twenty years – as we know once elected most Senators remain in office for several terms.
Let’s say there is even a small turnover in Senate membership in the 2010 election. That would move our West Virginia Senator up immediately in seniority.
This issue should be paramount in the decision making going on in The Governor’s Mansion after Senator Byrd’s funeral.