McCabe said he had run for president in hopes of ending the divisiveness among senators that had marked the 2011 regular session.
"I think the key is, now we have to figure out how to drive forward in some rough waters," he said.
While McCabe promoted himself as being better able to lead the Senate through critical issues such as paying down the state's massive OPEB liabilities, enacting Marcellus Shale regulations, and attracting new business investments, he said a majority of senators concluded that stability in Senate leadership was a paramount concern.
"A majority of senators felt we needed to continue as we had started earlier in the year," he said.
Kessler, a Glen Dale trial lawyer, was elected to the newly created position of acting Senate president in January, after Tomblin opted not to preside over the Senate during the 2011 regular session, while acting as governor.
Kessler was first appointed to the Senate in 1997 and has won re-election four times. He had served eight years as Senate Judiciary chairman prior to his selection as acting president.
Earlier in the afternoon, Tomblin appointed former Logan County commissioner Art Kirkendoll as his successor from the 7th Senatorial District.
Kirkendoll, who like Tomblin is a Chapmanville resident, reportedly supported Kessler in the Senate Democratic caucus. He will serve the remaining 14 months of Tomblin's unexpired term as senator.
Kirkendoll was sworn in on the Senate floor Monday evening, prior to Kessler's election.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.