ELEVEN weeks from today - in less than three months - West Virginians will nominate two candidates for governor.
Some would call the short period between now and the May 14 special primary a blessing.
Another unusual aspect is the sheer number of candidates.
In recent gubernatorial races, early frontrunners backed off some challengers by raising fearsome sums of money and locking up key endorsements.
This year, Democratic primary voters must choose among six candidates: Earl Ray Tomblin, Rick Thompson, Arne Moltis, Natalie Tennant, John Perdue and Jeff Kessler.
Those who cast Republican ballots will decide among eight candidates: Clark Barnes, Betty Ireland, Mark Sorsaia, Larry Faircloth, Cliff Ellis, Mitch Carmichael, Ralph William Clark and Bill Maloney.
Scratching your head, thinking, "Who are these people?"
You're not alone.
The candidates don't have much time to answer that question.
The serious contenders are scrambling to raise money for advertising.
But even if ads started today, 11 weeks isn't much time to build statewide name recognition.
That is a key factor in multiple-candidate races, and the special primary will be no exception.
As acting governor, Tomblin has harnessed the power of the office since he stepped up to the position in November. He keeps his name and face in the news.
He should be a slam-dunk for the nomination, but he may not be for a couple of reasons.
He is from Logan County, where he is well known. But less than 2 percent of the state's population lives there, and this is his first run for statewide office.
Also, Tomblin is low-key and so far has not wrung full advantage from his time in the spotlight.
The two female candidates will stand out simply because of their gender among so many men people don't know well. It doesn't hurt that both Betty Ireland and Natalie Tennant previously have run statewide - with success.
The only other candidate who has done that is state Treasurer John Perdue.
Perdue has been an avowed candidate longer than anyone else, and is said to have a strong organization of Democratic regulars statewide.