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Gubernatorial vote would be in 2012

By Staff | Oct 15, 2010

CHARLESTON (AP) – West Virginia could not hold an election for governor until 2012 – when the office is already on the ballot – if Gov. Joe Manchin wins next month’s U.S. Senate race and leaves office more than two years early, the Legislature’s top lawyers said Tuesday.

The office would be up for a vote twice at that time: for the two months then remaining in Manchin’s term, and for the four-year term that would start in January 2013.

That’s the legal conclusion that House of Delegates counsel Brian Skinner and Ray Ratliff, counsel to Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin, each presented to a legislative interim subcommittee studying the issue.

They were echoed by West Virginia University law professor Bob Bastress, considered an expert on the state constitution.

The West Virginia constitution calls for a “new” election if a governor leaves office more than one year early.