CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For the second day in a row, a state elected official removed "acting" from his title.
The state Senate Monday evening elected Sen. Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, as Senate president, filling a vacancy created Sunday when longtime President Earl Ray Tomblin, D-Logan, resigned to be sworn in as governor.
Kessler was elected by the Senate on a partisan 28-5 vote, with one absent, over Senate Minority Leader Mike Hall, R-Putnam. (Keeping with the tradition of the minority party nominating its leader for the presidency.)
"The time of acting is over," Kessler said in his acceptance speech, adding, "Members of the Senate, it's time to go to work."
Kessler told his colleagues he was honored to have their confidence and support, and said, "I'll promise you I'll do everything in my power to earn it and keep it."
Kessler, who had served as acting president since January, earlier Monday withstood a challenge from Sen. Brooks McCabe, D-Kanawha, for the Democratic nomination for the office.
During a closed-door caucus of the 28 Senate Democrats Monday afternoon, the vote reportedly broke 17 to 11 in favor of Kessler.
Sen. Erik Wells, D-Kanawha, currently on active duty with the Navy in Afghanistan, participated in the caucus and in the Senate floor vote via telephone.
"I gave it my best shot," McCabe said afterward.