Byrd special election date may change

Some lawmakers in West Virginia say they expect the State Legislature to revisit the succession plan for the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) at a special session planned for next month.

Earlier this week, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant said there would be no special election to fill Byrd’s seat until November 2012, when two elections would be held: one to fill the roughly five weeks of Byrd’s unexpired term and a second for the full six-year term. An appointee of Gov. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial McConnell: I doubt any GOP senator will vote to impeach Trump Manchin warns he'll slow-walk government funding bill until he gets deal on miners legislation MORE’s (D) would occupy the seat until 2012.

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The Legislature has a special session scheduled for mid-July to tackle education issues, but in a radio interview Wednesday, Charleston Mayor Danny Jones (D) said he expects Manchin to put the special-election issue on the Legislature’s agenda for that session.

It would require the governor to issue a proclamation to expand the scope of the Legislature’s planned special session, which the governor’s office has not yet indicated it will do.

The office of Attorney General Darrell McGraw also said Wednesday it was looking into whether the secretary of state’s office has the proper interpretation of the law. It noted the secretary of state didn’t ask for any guidance from the attorney general’s office in the legal interpretation process.

But the secretary of state’s office told The Hill it stands by its interpretation of the state’s election code and anticipates there won’t be a special election until November of 2012.

Tennant told The Hill she spoke with McGraw Wednesday afternoon and apologized for not giving his office a head’s up on how her office had decided to interpret the election code.

Tennant said while she is confident in her interpretation, an official challenge to her decision is certainly within the realm of possibility.

“When you’re dealing with elections it’s probably never case closed,” she said. “There are a lot of people looking for holes in this declaration I made.”

Troy Berman, executive director of the state GOP, said the political momentum in the state is now on the side of those who want to revisit the issue.

“This isn’t a partisan thing at all,” he said. “It’s coming from both sides.”

Byrd died early Monday morning at the age of 92. A memorial service is planned for Friday, and neither side expects any definitive word from the governor’s office before then — either on an appointment or on a proclamation for the legislative session.

— Shane D’Aprile

Second-quarter fundraising expectations

The second-quarter fundraising deadline was Tuesday at midnight, and now campaigns will wait to see who will reveal their numbers first.

Candidates have until July 15 to disclose how much they’ve pulled in this cycle, but conventional wisdom dictates that those who have had a good quarter will get the numbers out early. (And those with low numbers may leak them over the long Fourth of July holiday weekend.)

The numbers are usually a good indicator of the health of a campaign, but there could be another reason for an early release of the figures: Doing so may change the existing storyline.

Sen. David VitterDavid Bruce VitterRed-state governor races put both parties on edge Louisiana Republicans score big legislative wins Trump calls on Republicans to vote out Democratic Louisiana governor amid GOP infighting MORE (R-La.) has been under increased scrutiny over the last two weeks after ABC News reported an aide in his office had assaulted his girlfriend with a knife. The first-term senator, who faces Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.) in November, released his numbers Tuesday afternoon, one of the first of the quarter to do so.

Vitter raised more than $1 million and has some $5.5 million banked, which are respectable figures. But his release coincided with the launch of a stark Web ad from Melancon’s camp that hits Vitter for keeping his aide on the payroll despite the criminal history.

Observers will wait for figures from key races around the country. Some to watch:

• Republican Dino Rossi, who’s running for the GOP nomination to face Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurraySenate confirms Trump's nominee to lead FDA Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments Obstacles remain for deal on surprise medical bills MORE (D-Wash.), will be closely watched. Rossi was a late entry into the contest and this is the first quarter he’ll have to report numbers. Plus, he faces a primary challenge from former football player Clint Didier.

• Everyone will be watching to see how much money Republican Carly Fiorina invested in her race since she won the nomination to face Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerHillicon Valley: Ocasio-Cortez clashes with former Dem senator over gig worker bill | Software engineer indicted over Capital One breach | Lawmakers push Amazon to remove unsafe products Ocasio-Cortez blasts former Dem senator for helping Lyft fight gig worker bill Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates MORE (D-Calif.). The former CEO of Hewlett-Packard put $3.7 million into her campaign to win the June 8 primary. Boxer, who didn’t have a primary opponent, was able to bank $9.6 million at the end of the first quarter.

• Also, it’ll be interesting to see how much Tea Party favorites Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulPentagon to take bigger role in vetting foreign students after Pensacola shooting Overnight Defense: House passes compromise defense bill | Turkey sanctions advance in Senate over Trump objections | Top general says military won't be 'raping, burning and pillaging' after Trump pardons Rand Paul: 'We need to re-examine' US-Saudi relationship after Florida shooting MORE (R-Ky.) and Sharron Angle (R-Nev.) have raised since winning their party’s Senate nominations.
On the Democratic side, observers will be scrutinizing Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s (D-Ark.) report to see how much she spent overcoming Lt. Gov. Bill Halter (D) in the June 8 runoff — and how much she’s pulled in since she won.

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• In Florida, Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) will need to have put up some big numbers in order to overcome the onslaught of TV advertising his wealthy Senate primary opponent is throwing at him. He’s had some big-name help: Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Media organization fights Trump administration over Ukraine documents FOIA Buttigieg releases list of campaign bundlers MORE and former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonWhether a rule is cruel or kind, regulatory analysis shines a light Moderate or left of center — which is better for Democrats in 2020? Judiciary members battle over whether GOP treated fairly in impeachment hearings MORE have made fundraising pitches for him.

• In Colorado, Andrew Romanoff’s report will be watched carefully after Clinton sent out a fundraising appeal for him in the last few days of the fundraising period. Romanoff is challenging Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetYang: 2020 rivals in Senate should be able to campaign amid impeachment Trump trade deal likely to sow division in Democratic presidential field Schumer to colleagues running for White House: Impeachment comes first MORE (D-Colo.) for the Democratic nomination.

— S.J.M.