Robert Byrd, the longest serving US Senator, has died.
Last night I wrote at Michelle Malkin’s blog the West Virginia rules for filling a vacant Senate seat. The long and short of it is if the West Virginia Governor declares the seat vacant before this coming Saturday, there will be a special election in November to decide who will fill the remaining two years of Byrd’s term. If the seat is declared vacant after this coming Saturday, the appointee will serve the remainder of Byrd’s term until 2012 and presumably run for re-election then.
Remember that the West Virginia Governor is a Democrat with possible Senate aspirations of his own, so the odds that the seat will be declared vacant (unless there’s a law I’m unaware of that would compel him to do so) before Saturday, which would give the Republicans a shot at winning the seat in November, are slim and none.
Byrd served 51 years in the Senate, so this should also lead to a discussion about term limits.
Also, like JWF, I can’t help but wonder, given Byrd’s rather infamous past, if the media would be referring to him as a “respected Senator” if he’d have been a Republican.