WV AG says that special election for Senate seat can happen this year

The Chi-Trib’s Swamp blog has the details:

[WV AG] Darrel McGraw’s opinion, released this afternoon, clears the way for Manchin to appoint a temporary replacement. But his recommendation that a special primary election be held first, rather than allowing the state political parties to appoint nominees, could have significant consequences for Democrats who want to keep the seat in their column.

The executive director of the West Virginia Republican Party told the Swamp yesterday that both parties had anticipated that no primary election would be held, and that each party’s executive board would appoint nominees to run in an anticipated November special general election. McGraw’s opinion suggests, however, that a “special primary election be held” November 2, “which maximizes the opportunity for all potential candidates to prepare for both the special election and the general election, and for all voters, including those in the Armed Services, to participate and have their voices be heard.”

Democrats had hoped Manchin would be their candidate, while state GOP officials intended to nominate Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R), if she decided to run in the race. It’s unclear when a general election would then be held, but it likely could not occur until early 2011.

The Charleston Daily Mail has more.

Jim Geraghty notes here that one of the key differences between Manchin and Capito are that he is pro-life while she is pro-abortion (via Matt Lewis).

For an analysis on whether or not Manchin could keep this seat in Democrat hands, visit 538.com.

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