CHARLESTON — Whenever the election to become West Virginia’s next governor takes place, House Speaker Rick Thompson’s name will be on the ballot.
“I’m going to run,” Thompson, D-Wayne, said Wednesday. “Whenever there is an election, I will be on the ballot.”
And Thompson thinks that election should be sooner rather than later.
Gov. Joe Manchin was elected Tuesday to serve the remaining two years of late Sen. Robert C. Byrd’s term in the U.S. Senate.
Currently, state law says that if a governor leaves office in the first three years of a term, the state must hold an election to fill the vacancy. But questions remain about when that election must be held.
Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin, D-Logan, currently would become interim governor. He also has said he believes the election to replace a governor wouldn’t have to take place until the regularly scheduled 2012 vote.
“We need to go in and establish a special election for governor,” he said. “If we fail to act, the court is likely to order an election, based on my interpretation of the statutes.
“And personally, I think it would be much better to get an election set up so the people can select a governor. We’re not going to have a governor until we elect one.”
Comparing this situation to the summer when U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd died, Thompson said he thinks the move to have an election for governor is even more compelling.
“This is for basically half of the governor’s term,” Thompson said. “Plus, it’s totally inconsistent to not have an election for governor after we had one for the Senate seat.”