CHARLESTON, W.Va. — In response to a petition filed by the chair of the State Democratic Executive Committee, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin told the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals he will appoint a Democrat to fill the vacant senate seat in the 9th District, unless the high court directs him to do otherwise.
Daniel Hall was elected to the seat as a Democrat in 2012, but changed parties in 2014, giving Republicans their first majority in the state Senate in more than 80 years. He resigned earlier this month to take a lobbyist job with the National Rifle Association.
“(D)oes Governor Tomblin — in carrying out his appointment duty — honor Hall’s party affiliation at the time of election or vacancy?” the petition asks.
Tomblin chose election, saying that he intends to appoint a Democrat within five days of the list submitted by the 9th District Senate Executive Committee. His response says his decision is “supported by sound public policy.”
“It honors the mandate of the voters of the Ninth Senatorial District and avoids a constitutional challenge,” Tomblin’s response says.
Although Tomblin has decided from which party he will name Hall’s replacement, he asked the state Supreme Court to interpret West Virginia Code…