Legal counsel advises Manchin to call special session on Byrd seat

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin's (D) legal counsel said Friday he is advising the governor to call for a special session of the state legislature to tackle the issue of the late-Sen. Robert Byrd's (D-W.Va.) Senate seat. 

"I am advising the governor, in light of the varying opinions of the succession law, to call a special session of the legislature next week to address the issue," Manchin's legal counsel Jonathan Deem said in a statement.

Deem continued: "No two lawyers agree on when the election may take place or how the process should be handled. It is especially clear to me, now that the Attorney General has officially said that he disagrees with the Secretary of State, that the only way to finally put this issue to rest is for the governor to call a special session.

"If the legislature does not clarify its intent, the state risks a legal challenge that would undermine or delay the ability of the people to vote in an election."

West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw (D) cleared the way for Manchin to call a November 2010 special election for the Senate seat Thursday.