Kessler Presses Bid to Run W.Va. Senate in 2011

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- State Sen. Jeff Kessler is upping the ante as he seeks to become his chamber's acting president.

Kessler wants Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin to back a rule change so senators can vote to elect Tomblin's stand-in.

Tomblin became acting governor when Joe Manchin joined the U.S. Senate. The Logan County Democrat has pledged to set aside his legislative duties. But Kessler and others warn that Tomblin is blurring the lines between the branches of government.

Kessler says 17 of the Senate's 28 Democrats support his plan. That's one more backing the Marshall County lawmaker since Democrats caucused last week and debated the topic.

But Tomblin calls the proposed rule change drastic. He warns it could bring chaos, and says the debate has divided the Senate.

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