McGraw Issues Fast Opinion

Attorney General Darrell McGraw in less than a day has responded to Governor Manchin’s request for a legal opinion of the succession process to fill the vacancy left by the passing of Senator Robert C. Byrd.

Secretary of State Natalie Tennant had offered her opinion just after Byrd’s death.  She took the position the voters of West Virginia would have no voice in the matter until 2012.  This was certainly unacceptable to most everyone. 

When it became clear voters s wanted an election this year Tennant quickly sided with them. She asks the state election law be changed to accomplish that objective.  McGraw’s opinion says the Governor can by proclamation set the date for a special election – even this year.

Tennant as the Chief Election Officer of WV will likely find her reluctance to hold an election in 2010 an issue with voters if she seeks re-election is 2012.  It seems Ms. Tennant should have asked the Chief Attorney for the State what he thought before she spoke.

Governor Manchin issued a statement from Boston where he is attending the National Governors Association’s (NGA) Annual meeting this weekend.  Manchin is to become NGA chairman.  The statement is below.

“I appreciate the Attorney General for rendering such a swift reply in accordance to my recent request seeking his opinion on the state’s succession law to fill the vacancy left by the passing of our beloved U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd.

“The Attorney General has determined that, in his opinion, a special election to fill the vacancy may occur before 2012 and may occur in conjunction with the general election this November.

“In light of this opinion, I plan to speak with the state’s legislative leadership immediately to determine how we will further proceed in order to reach a conclusion to this matter.”

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