The late Senator Robert C. Byrd’s successor will serve two years and six months of the remaining term in accordance with state laws. The senator’s death at age 94 left lawmakers scrambling to reconcile state and federal laws regulating a replacement’s rights to term. The late senator had two years and eight months left in his term, but West Virginia law only allows appointed replacements to serve two and a half years. Check out the full story, with pictures and video below!

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In order to reconcile the differences, with a typically bureaucratic solution, the state will hold elections in November 2012 for the two remaining months of the late senator’s term, as well as for the six year term following that. An odd solution, but one that is in accordance with all laws concerned.

What still remains unanswered is just who the Senator Byrd successor will be. West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin (D) holds the authority to name the replacement, but all he has told the press so far is that it won’t be him.

Rumors say that the Governer had planned to run for the Senate seat in 2012 when his term ends. Pundits say that this will be the main influence on Manchin’s decision, as he will appoint someone who would step out of the way come the next election.

“It’s a continuation of Manchin, rather than Byrd,” said Robert Rupp, a political science professor. “In this case, it’s directly loyal to the governor and the state.”

Currently, Manchin has not put a timetable on his decision. But his hesitation has put the Democrats’ financial reform bill in limbo. Needing the former Senator’s vote to push it through congress, Democrats are now left scrambling for a final vote for the bill that they hoped to deliver to the President’s desk by Independence Day.

“We are down a vote,” said Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat. “We have got some work to do.”

What do you think of the West Virginia law that allows an appointed Byrd successor instead of a publicly elected replacement? Do you think Manchin will appoint someone who will help the Democrat’s latest efforts? Let me know in the comment section! And don’t miss the photos and video below!

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Photos: Devorah