Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

May 11, 2010

Sen. Caruth seat to be filled in November special election

Princeton — A special election will take place in November to fill the unexpired term of the State Senate seat formerly occupied by Don Caruth of Athens.

Caruth died on May 1 from cancer. He had about 2 1/2 years remaining in his four-year term as one of two senators from the 10th Senatorial District.

“Because the term had more than 2 years and 2 months remaining, there has to be a special election,” said Dave Nichols, elections manager in the Secretary of State’s office in Charleston. “That’s in State Code.”

That election will probably be run at the same time as the November general election on Nov. 2, and the winner will serve until January 2013.

Nichols said the elections office is “still researching into case law” to determine how candidates will be placed on the ballot for the special election.

“We want to be able to get that information out as soon as possible,” he said. “We also want to make sure it’s done legally and in accordance with Code.”

The district includes portions of Mercer and Fayette counties and all of Monroe, Greenbrier and Summers counties.

Gov. Joe Manchin will make an interim appointment to fill Caruth’s seat from May until early January, when a new legislative session begins.

 The 10th District Republican Executive Committee is charged with recommending three nominees to Manchin within 21 days of Caruth’s death.

Because the district already has a sitting senator from Greenbrier County, Jesse Guills, no resident of that county may be considered for the interim appointment, Nichols said.

State law prohibits a multi-county district from having two senators from the same county. That requirement remains in effect even though Guills has chosen not to run for re-election in November.

On Tuesday, the primary election will determine Democratic and Republican candidates for the race to fill Guills’ seat for a complete four-year term. That winner will take office in January.

— Contact Tom Bone at

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