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Kessler: Vote Is Early Next Week

November 12, 2011
By JOSELYN KING Political Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

GLEN DALE - Acting West Virginia Senate President Jeff Kessler predicts a vote to name the Senate's next president will happen early next week, and he expects to win the job.

The timing of the vote depends on how soon the current Senate president - Gov.-elect Earl Ray Tomblin - resigns from the Senate and names his successor to represent the 7th District, according to Kessler, D-Marshall.

The 7th District includes Tomblin's home county of Logan, as well as Boone and parts of Wayne counties.

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"We will wait until that person is sworn in," Kessler said. "We don't have to wait, but I would prefer to wait until everyone is in the fold."

Kessler faces a challenge to the presidency fellow Democrat Brooks McCabe of Kanawha County.

Tomblin has called a special session of the Legislature for noon Sunday. At that time, the results of the Oct. 4 special election for governor are to be presented before a joint assembly of House and Senate members, who are expected to approve the numbers.

Kessler said Tomblin will resign from the Senate, then be officially sworn in as governor later Sunday.

The 7th District senatorial committee then is scheduled to meet at 11 a.m. Monday to choose three candidates they will recommend to Tomblin to fill his vacant Senate seat. Tomblin will have 15 days to choose the new senator, but Kessler expects Tomblin to act quickly on the matter - perhaps as soon as Monday afternoon.

"My thought is the governor will move swiftly," Kessler said. "He likes to save money, and since we're in town I would guess he will add that to the special session call. My preference is that we stay in session until the matter is finalized."

He said Tomblin should know all the candidates, as they will all be residents of his home district.

The Legislature next will be called to approve the appointment of the new 7th District senator, and the new member will be sworn into office.

Kessler then will call a meeting of the Democrat caucus, who will choose their nominee for Senate president.

A vote on who will be Senate president will follow before the full Senate. There are 28 Democrats in the 34-member West Virginia Senate, and six Republicans.

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