Kaufman administers midnight oath of office to Tomblin for third time
CHARLESTON – Before being publically sworn during the Inaugural ceremonies on Jan. 14, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin was sworn in at midnight to ensure that there was no gap between when his term ended and his first official full term began. Kanawha Circuit Judge Tod J. Kaufman administered the oath of office to Tomblin at midnight, since his term officially ended at 11:59:59 p.m. on Jan. 13. Kaufman said the seamless web of transition allowed Tomblin to exercise the uninterrupted powers of his office, if needed. The oath is required to see that no gap in succession took place. First Lady Joanne Yeager Tomblin held the family Bible next to their son, Brent Tomblin. Peter Markham, the governor’s general counsel, was present along with Tomblin’s mother and father and an official photographer. The midnight oath of office took place in the Governor’s Mansion living room. Kaufman, a former state Senate colleague of Tomblin’s, previously administered the oath of office in private ceremonies in the Governor’s Capitol office when then-Senate President Tomblin succeeded then-Gov. Joe Manchin on Jan. 12, 2011. Kaufman administered the oath again on Nov. 13, 2012, following Tomblin’s election to the unexpired term under which he had previously served. “The midnight oath of office is done because his term officially ends at 11:59 p.m.,” Kaufman said. “Before getting publically sworn in later in the day, the midnight swearing-in is done so there is no break in his official powers if he needs to exercise them.” Tomblin was publically sworn in later on Jan. 14 by state Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent D. Benjamin during a nearly two-hour long ceremony attended by both houses of the state Legislature and many citizens.