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) ManchinSunday shows - Recession fears dominate Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Trump vows to 'always uphold the Second Amendment' amid ongoing talks on gun laws 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 VitterGrocery group hires new top lobbyist Lobbying World Senate confirms Trump judge who faced scrutiny over abortion views 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 MurrayOvernight Health Care: Planned Parenthood to leave federal family planning program absent court action | Democrats demand Trump withdraw rule on transgender health | Cummings, Sanders investigate three drug companies for 'obstructing' probe Democrats demand Trump officials withdraw rule on transgender health The Hill's Morning Report - Progressives, centrists clash in lively Democratic debate 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 BoxerOnly four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates Hispanic civil rights icon endorses Harris for president California AG Becerra included in Bloomberg 50 list 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 PaulGraham promises ObamaCare repeal if Trump, Republicans win in 2020 Conservatives buck Trump over worries of 'socialist' drug pricing Rand Paul to 'limit' August activities due to health 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 BidenEight Democratic presidential hopefuls to appear in CNN climate town hall Hill Reporter Rafael Bernal: Biden tries to salvage Latino Support Biden, Buttigieg bypassing Democratic delegate meeting: report MORE and former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson Clinton3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 Buckingham Palace: Any suggestion Prince Andrew was involved in Epstein scandal 'abhorrent' The magic of majority rule in elections 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 BennetBiden, Buttigieg bypassing Democratic delegate meeting: report The Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape The Hill's Morning Report — Recession fears climb and markets dive — now what? MORE (D-Colo.) for the Democratic nomination.

— S.J.M.