WV Special Senate Election: Mountaintop Removal is Hechler's Priority

As of Yesterday (July 21st) only 2-3 people had come forward and filed for their official candidacy for the special election for Robert C. Byrd’s Senate seat. The primary is slated for August 28, 2010.

The only takers were Democrats yesterday and the big name in the field was Joe Manchin III, West Virginia’s current governor. Manchin, as many close to him figured, had most likely planned on making the run for the Senate when the seat opened up. Joe Manchin is nearing the end of his second term as West Virginia’s governor and hopes to lock in the Democratic Party nomination.

The biggest surprise in the filing so far has been Ken Hechler. Hechler is the former Secretary of State for West Virginia, and used to Represent the state in Congress for West Virginia’s 4th District. *Its worthy to note that West Virginia only has 3 districts now. Why is this a surprise? Hechler is 95, older than RC Byrd. According to the Gazette, his primary issue is mountaintop removal mining.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Former congressman and secretary of state Ken Hechler has entered the race for U.S. Senate, and he’s running on one issue — ending the practice of mountaintop removal.

The 95-year-old faxed candidacy paperwork to the Secretary of State’s office on Wednesday for the special primary to fill the seat vacated by Sen. Robert C. Byrd.

"I’m not running to get votes for myself," Hechler said. "I’m running to give people an opportunity to cast their votes against mountaintop removal … This is the only way I can get [the issue] on the ballot."

Charleston Gazette

Also on the Democrats list is Sheirl Fletcher, a former WV House of Delegates member who is looking to take the coveted nomination away from the heavyweights.

Sheirl Fletcher, Democrat from Monongalia County filed candidacy papers today in a bid to win the democratic primary for the unexpired term of the late U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd.

Fletcher, 53, was a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2008 and was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates from 1998-2002.

Huntington News

According to the WV Secretary of State Website, 10 Republican candidates have also put in their papers for candidacy in wake of the upcoming primary election.

Not very many familiar names on the GOP list but the list itself includes John Raese, Mac Warner, Kenneth Culp, Harry Bruner, Daniel Rebich, Lynette McQuain, Scott Williams, Thomas Ressler, Albert Howard, and Charles Railey
(Courtesy of Natalie Tennant and the Office of WV Secretary of State.)

Mac Warner ran for the Republican nomination for the 1st Congressional District Seat in WV but lost earlier this year.

It should indeed be a very interesting race. More to come!

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