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Randolph County senator eyed for clerk position

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Sen. Clark Barnes, R-Randolph, will seek the Senate clerk position in January.

Sen. Bill Cole, R-Mercer, who likely will be named Senate president in January, on Monday said the move will vacate the District 11 Senate seat and a new member will have to be appointed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.

“Clark will likely stay in his seat until the elections are held the first day of the session,” Cole said. “The Senate clerk is one of four elections that will take place that first day.”

Barnes, who has spoken to several media outlets concerning his interest in the clerk position, could not be reached for comment Monday. Cole, however, said he had no reason to doubt Barnes would become Senate clerk.

“I think that’s pretty solid at this point,” Cole said.

The other three elections in January will be Senate president, doorkeeper and sergeant-at-arms.

Conrad Lucas, chairman of the West Virginia GOP, said he planned to contact possible Senate District 11 Committee members over the Thanksgiving holiday with the intent of convening a committee in the months to come.

State law requires the committee to include representatives of the vacated district. Both Lucas and Cole said they believe the committee will have about 14 members.

Those members will choose three possible appointees, one of whom will be chosen by the governor, Lucas said.

“It has to be a resident of that senatorial district and it has to be a Republican,” because that is the elected position being vacated, Lucas said. “Unfortunately we are very familiar with this process since we’ve had several members pass away in recent years. So this is nothing new for us.”

Officials had planned to tap Barnes to be the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, but have instead tentatively named Sen. Charlie Trump, R-Morgan, to the chairmanship.

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