By 3:45 p.m. yesterday, 119 early voters had cast ballots in the Mingo County Commission's courtroom at the courthouse, County Court Clerk Jim Hatfield reported. Early voting was to close after today's voting.
Three Democrats, 10 Republicans and one Mountain Party candidates are on the Aug. 28 ballot in the special election. The winners will face off this fall to fill the seat of Sen. Byrd. The victor in the Nov. 2 general election will serve the two-plus years remaining in Byrd's term.
Byrd was 92 when he died June 28 as history's longest-serving member of Congress. West Virginia Democrat Carte Goodwin, 36, is serving a four-month interim in Byrd's Senate seat until voters can choose a senator to finish out Byrd's term.
The West Virginia Legislature called for an Aug. 28 primary and Nov. 2 general election to fill the time left in Byrd's term. The Nov. 2 winner will take over from Goodwin, who was temporarily appointed by Gov. Joe Manchin.
The 62-year-old Manchin, front-runner Democrat seeking seeking nomination for Byrd's seat this Saturday, is being challenged by a former Secretary of State, Ken Hechler of Charleston, and Sheirl Fletcher of Dellslow in Monongalia County.
The official ballot of the Republican party for Saturday's special primary (No Excuse) election contains the names of 10 persons vying for the right to seek Byrd's Senate seat in November. They are:
Thomas Ressler, Falling Waters (Berkeley County); Harry C. Bruner Jr., Charleston (Kanawha County); Frank Kubic, Charles Town (Jefferson County); John R. Raese, Morgantown (Monongalia County); Daniel Rebich, Buckhannon (Upshur County);
Kenneth A. Culp, Summersville (Nicholas County); Albert Howard, San Pedro, Calif.; Lynette Kennedy McQuain, Rivesville (Marion County); Scott H. Williams, Buckhannon (Upshur County), and Mac Warner, Morgantown (Monongalia County).
The Mountain party has one candidate, Jesse Johnson of Pinch in Kanawha County.
Chief Deputy County Clerk Bridgett Puckett said electronic voting machines will be used in Saturday's special primary with polls to open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m. Tabulation by the County Court's deputy clerks will take place in election quarters in the basement of the courthouse.