CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Attorney General Darrell McGraw believes West Virginia state law requires state officials, including Gov. Joe Manchin, to seek his opinion about the proper legal process to fill the Senate vacancy created by the passing of Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va.
But so far, no one has asked McGraw and his staff for their legal advice.
"Under the law, the attorney general is expected to provide an opinion on legal issues that confront the executive branch of government and, in a limited way, other branches of government," McGraw said during a Monday interview.
"This is significant because it is the attorney general who is required by law to defend that officer if that officer is sued," McGraw stressed. "This process should have been observed."
Manchin has repeatedly said he will not appoint himself to fill the vacant Senate seat created last week by Byrd's death, but he has given no indication of whom he will appoint.
Some state political figures, as well as leaders from both business and labor groups, are urging Manchin to name himself to fill the vacant seat in the Senate.
Last Monday, Secretary of State Natalie Tenant said state election law does not allow the state to hold an election to fill Byrd's seat until Election Day on Nov. 6, 2012.
Manchin has the right to appoint Byrd's successor until that time, Tennant stated.
The November 2012 ballot, Tenant said, would allow voters to cast two different votes for the Senate position.
The first vote would elect a candidate to fill out the remainder of Byrd's term, a little more than eight weeks, between Nov. 7, 2012 and Jan. 3, 2013.