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GOP departure raises doubt over WV Senate control

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Sen. Daniel Hall, whose party switch days after last year’s elections shifted the Senate to Republican control, is resigning to become a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, leaving some doubt about which party will control the West Virginia Senate.

Hall, of Wyoming County, was elected to the Senate as a Democrat in 2012, but he switched parties last year after November’s election left the Senate deadlocked, with 17 Republicans and 17 Democrats.

His switch gave the Republicans the majority for the first time in more than eight decades, and Hall was named the Senate majority whip and chairman of the Agriculture and Labor committees.

His resignation puts some doubt, at least temporarily, on which party will control the chamber leading up to the 2016 elections. Normally, when a legislator resigns, that legislator’s local party committee nominates replacements, and the governor chooses from among those nominees.

But with Hall’s party switch, which party will nominate the replacements?

State code appears at least somewhat ambiguous, and Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s office offered no clarification Tuesday.

“Senator Hall’s resignation certainly presents a unique situation, and the governor’s legal team is reviewing state code,” Shayna Varner, a Tomblin spokeswoman, said…

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