W. Va. Exploring Special Election To Replace Sen. Robert Byrd

"West Virginia voters shouldn't have to wait until 2012 to chose a successor for the late Sen. Robert Byrd, Gov. Joe Manchin said today, adding that state officials are exploring whether they can move up the special election. Machinations over how to replace Byrd, who died June 28, could prove important for Senate Democrats hoping to advance a plateful of legislation -- including proposed Wall Street regulations -- this month. With Byrd's seat vacant, Democrats now have 58 votes in the Senate, two shy of the 60 needed to overturn filibusters on controversial legislation."