Carmichael secures vote to become next State Senate President
By MetroNews Staff
State Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael (R-Jackson) has secured the vote to become the next President of the West Virginia State Senate.
Senator Ed Gaunch (R-Kanawha), who was also in the running, conceded to Carmichael Saturday night.
A number of senators favored Gaunch as a candidate for the position because they were dissatisfied with the leadership of the Senate in the last legislative session, which included outgoing state Senate President Bill Cole and Carmichael as the Senate Majority Leader.
Carmichael was able to secure the support of newly-elected Senator Kenny Mann (R-Monroe), which gave him a 12-10 advantage over Gaunch.
MetroNews “Talkline” Host Hoppy Kercheval said Gaunch’s concession ends what could’ve turned into a divisive battle for the leadership of the Senate for the GOP — had it gone on much longer.
“The two were able to reach into accord before that happened,” Kercheval said. “Carmichael even told me that Gaunch even wants to make one of the nominating speeches.”
The Republican caucus will officially nominate Carmichael for the position Dec. 4.
“This development puts Carmichael in the second highest political position in the state, next in line for the Governorship should the Governor resign or be unable to serve. The Senate President also holds the largely honorary position of Lieutenant Governor,” Kercheval explained.
Carmichael told Kercheval economic issues, including jobs, would be at the top of his agenda as the leader of the state Senate.
“He said, ‘The focus is going to be on creating jobs and the economy.’ He said ‘We’re going to avoid any divisive social issues.’,” Kercheval said.
The full Senate will take a vote opening day of the session on Jan. 11. The session will open that day and then lawmakers will adjourn until Feb. 8.