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West Virginia governor to name Byrd replacement

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Gov. Joe Machin will name a temporary replacement for the late Sen. Robert Byrd
  • Sen. Byrd died last month
  • Sen. Byrd was the longest serving member in Congressional history

(CNN) -- West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin will announce on Friday his pick to temporarily fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the death of Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd.

Manchin has said he'll push to hold a special election this November to fill the remaining two years of the term. The legislature is meeting in special session, considering legislation to do just that.

Manchin, a popular two-term Democratic governor, told reporters this month that he "would highly consider" seeking the seat himself -- not surprising given Manchin was thought to be interested in running for the Senate in 2012, when the election is currently scheduled.

West Virginia law dictates that the governor has the power to name an immediate replacement for Byrd. Manchin says he doesn't want to appoint someone who would serve for two-and-a-half years without the people's consent.

"I believe in the power of the vote," Manchin told reporters.

If the contest is held this November, it would add another possible Senate pick up potential for the Republicans and would help their odds at possibly retaking control of the chamber. The GOP needs to re-take 10 Senate seats to regain the majority.

The state's largest union, the West Virginia chapter of the AFL-CIO, has urged Manchin to name himself to the seat, but the governor has said he will not do so.

Byrd was the longest serving member ever in Congressional history.