Had he lasted until July 3rd, no election would have been necessary.
Byrd’s current term expires on January 3, 2013. Under West Virginia state law on handling Senate vacancies, “if the vacancy occurs less than two years and six months before the end of the term, the Governor appoints someone to fill the unexpired term and there is no election”. Otherwise, Manchin would appoint an interim replacement, and an special election would be held in November to determine who held the seat in 2011 and 2012.
As it is, a new election will take place and I bet that seat is in play.
Since de mortibus nil nisi bene, I’ll remember his anti-war speeches. Those were good – in that long time ago he delivered them.