Archive for June, 2009

The Heir to the Throne

June 20, 2009

Governor Manchin officially annointed Earl Ray Tomblin as the next governor of West Virginia.

He didn’t say it in so many words, but at today’s ceremony at the Capitol, Kay Goodwin twice referred to Earl Ray as the “Lieutenant Governor.” When Joe spoke, the first time he mentioned Earl Ray he called him the Senate President, did a little double-take, then called him the Lieutenant Governor. He proceeded to refer to him at least four more times as the Lieutenant Governor.

Further, in his talk, Manchin gave great praise to Tomblin for his role in helping renovate the Capitol building, and about how Tomblin is on board with Manchin’s plans to add a mural and otehr artwork to the Capitol rotunda.

West Virginia doesn’t have a Lieutenant Governor. The Senate President is next in line should the Governor vacate the office, but nowhere in the West Virginia Constitution is a Lieutenant Governor mentioned. If you search the Legislature’s website you can find several bills proposing an amendment to the Constitution from the 1990’s, but that’s never happened. Section §6A-1-4. Additional successors to office of governor of the state code  says

(b) The Legislature recognizes that pursuant to the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, the president of the Senate is charged with the responsibility of first successor to the governor in the event the governor is unable to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of his or her office and in that regard, the president of the Senate is functioning similarly to a lieutenant governor. Therefore, the Legislature determines that the president of the Senate shall be additionally designated the title of “lieutenant governor” in acknowledgment of the president’s responsibility as first successor to the governor.

I can’t seem to find when that was added, but I wonder if it was very recently. In any case, today was the first time I’ve ever heard anyone refer to a Lieutenant Governor in West Virginia. Manchin and Earl Ray will be at various events this weekend around the state, and I expect you’ll hear more of the same. Earl Ray’s Legislative webpage refers to him as “Senate President – Lieutenant Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.”

Of course, the idea is to start associating “governor” with Earl Ray Tombin. He’ll need that association up in Wheeling and Harper’s Ferry if he expects to be the heir to the Manchin throne.