As U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin considers a 2016 return bid for governor, Republicans hope to block him from handpicking his Senate successor for two years.
If he reclaims his old job, the Democrat will have served enough of his Senate term that he, as new governor, could name the next senator through 2018.
With majorities in the House and Senate for the first time in more than eight decades, Republicans can stymie Manchin’s ability to name a potential replacement.
Republican House Speaker Tim Armstead said his party has already drafted an election law change requiring special elections, not appointments, in cases like Manchin’s.
Manchin first won his Senate seat in a special election after Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd died in 2010. There was debate then about special elections versus appointments.