Officials: Ex-Manchin Aide Tapped for Byrd Seat

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Gov. Joe Manchin is tapping his former chief counsel and a member of a prominent West Virginia family, Carte Goodwin, to succeed the late U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, Democratic officials told The Associated Press on Friday.

Three officials familiar with the governor's pick spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment ahead of an official announcement.

Manchin is scheduled to present his appointee at a Friday afternoon press conference at the Capitol.

The 36-year-old Goodwin, a Charleston lawyer, would hold the seat until November. That's when the governor wants general election voters to decide who will serve the final two years of Byrd's term. The Legislature has begun a special session to consider a proposal from Manchin to allow for a fall vote.

Byrd was the longest-serving senator in history when he died last month at 92.

The youngest among those considered Manchin's potential choices, Goodwin had worked on his 2004 campaign for governor before coming his chief lawyer. He served in that post until shortly after Manchin began his second term in 2009, leaving for his family's law firm.

The Goodwins have played a major role in West Virginia public service. Goodwin's father, who died in April, had chaired West Virginia University's Board of Governors. An uncle is a federal judge, while a cousin is the U.S. Attorney for the state's southern federal court district.

Goodwin already has ties to West Virginia's Senate delegation: his wife, Rochelle, is state director for Byrd's Democratic colleague, Sen. Jay Rockefeller.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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