Report: West Virginia governor picks former counsel for Byrd seat


West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) will name his former general counsel as the state’s interim senator, the Associated Press is reporting.

Manchin will name Carte Goodwin as the interim replacement for the late Sen. Robert Byrd Friday afternoon, the report said. Goodwin served as the governor’s general counsel from 2005 to 2009 and is currently in private practice in Charleston.

Reports out of the state Thursday indicated that Manchin was leaning toward Goodwin. The pick makes sense given Manchin’s own desire to run for the seat, as Democratic insiders said there’s no concern Goodwin would be anything other than a placeholder until a special election is held to fill out the remainder of Byrd’s term.

Manchin said he intends to announce his own electoral intentions after the state legislature amends the state’s election code to allow a November special election. 

Manchin will officially announce his interim selection at a 2 p.m. news conference, where the pick is expected to appear with the governor and address reporters. 

Meanwhile, Democrats in Washington already have a date set to swear in Manchin’s appointee, who the Senate leadership anticipates will be a much needed additional Democratic vote on an extension of unemployment benefits that has been stalled in the chamber. 

Democrats will hold 59 seats in the Senate when Goodwin is sworn in next Tuesday.

Goodwin has political aspirations of his own — he told the Charleston Gazette in June that he was being recruited by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to run against Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) this fall. 

Goodwin said he met with Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and other DCCC officials about a possible bid.

—This story was updated at 11:04 a.m.