Sen. Carte Goodwin (D-Caretaker-W.Va.)
By selecting former aide Carte Goodwin to replace the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D), West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) guaranteed three things. Mind you, these are not in order of importance. Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) is no longer the only eye candy in the chamber. An extension of unemployment benefits will be approved with Goodwin's expected 60th vote after he's sworn in Tuesday. And Manchin will have a clear field to run for the seat in the special election later this year. Having already declared that he won't run on that ballot, Goodwin is the ultimate caretaker.
Goodwin was Manchin's counsel for five years. His familial connections make Goodwin, 36, a total West Virginia insider. Thus, the Mountain State will go from being represented by the oldest senator to being looked after by the youngest senator without losing too much in political know-how.
But some wise interpretation of the state's confusing election law gave Manchin the authority to call for a special election, which is expected to be this November, while maintaining his power to appoint an successor for the Senate seat. Not ideal, but the Constitution doesn't make provisions for filing Senate vacancies. That's why in the last two years we have seen five governors replace departing senators with varying degrees of selfishness or political calculation. Some fine. Some opaque. And others, gross abuses of power -- allegedly.
It's no secret that Manchin wants to run for the job. And, you know what? The well-regarded governor just might win. If he is successful, at least he will have won the seat at the behest of West Virginia voters and relatively soon after the vacancy became available.
| July 16, 2010; 5:52 PM ET
Categories: Capehart | Tags: Jonathan Capehart
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