West Virginia Republicans have been pressing for a fall election to replace the late senator Robert Byrd, D-W.Va. –even threatening a lawsuit to force one. After some initial reluctance it appears that governor Joe Manchin, a Democrat, may give them what they are asking for.

Politico reports Manchin says he’s “highly” interested in running:

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin voiced support for holding a special election this year to fill the late Sen. Robert Byrd’s seat, announcing that he would request a legal opinion from the state attorney general to determine if a vote could be held. Manchin, a Democrat who said he would be “highly” interested in running for the seat himself, expressed discomfort with Secretary of State Natalie Tennant’s ruling that the governor should name a placeholder to the seat until it comes up for election in 2012. “I believe in the power of the vote. I believe in the election process,” Manchin told reporters. “Two and a half years to appoint someone to fill the shoes of Robert C. Byrd is too long.”