(AP) — Unless the state Supreme Court rules otherwise, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin intends to appoint a Democrat to a Senate vacancy that could deadlock the chamber.
The Democratic governor's Supreme Court brief Monday says replacing former Republican Sen. Daniel Hall with a Democrat would honor the will of the voters and avoid a constitutional challenge.
The Supreme Court will resolve the discrepancy. GOP Attorney General Patrick Morrisey issued an opinion favoring a Republican appointment.
Hall resigned for an NRA job.
The Wyoming County ex-lawmaker was elected as a Democratic senator in 2012 and turned Republican after the 2014 elections, breaking a tie and giving Republicans an 18-16 majority. State code is ambiguous about replacing someone who flipped parties.
A Democratic appointment would deadlock the Senate. The 60-day legislative session starts Wednesday.