CHARLESTON, W.Va. - There could be a new leader of the House of Delegates as of Tuesday.
Neither Democrat frontrunner vying to become the next speaker of the House is ready to concede.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is expected to call for a special session to start at noon Tuesday, said legislative director Jason Pizatella. The purposed will be the election of a new speaker. The session will be at the Capitol and only the House is expected to meet.
Speaker Rick Thompson, D-Wayne, announced last month he would leave his post to become the next cabinet secretary for the Department of Veterans Assistance. Secretary Keith Gwinn is resigning for health reasons.
Gwinn submitted a letter to Tomblin saying his resignation would be effective Saturday. Thompson's resignation as speaker is expected to take effect the same day. By state law, Tomblin has 10 days to call a special session for the House to convene and choose a new leader.
Both parties are expected to meet in private caucuses to come up with nominees to replace Thompson.
Democrats hold 54 of the 100 seats in the House and hold the majority needed to select the next speaker if they can come to a consensus.
Leading Democratic candidates to replace Thompson are House Judiciary Chairman Tim Miley of Harrison County and House Finance Chairman Harry Keith White of Mingo County.
Miley recently said he has 37 public commitments of support from fellow Democrats, more than a majority of House Democrats. White has said some of those who publicly support Miley have told him they would vote for him in a secret ballot election.
The two recently met to talk about the race but couldn't reach an agreement about who should be the party's candidate. On Wednesday, White said he thinks the approach of Tuesday's special session could hasten a resolution.
"As we get closer, I think we'll make a decision," White said. "We could do this for the next six months. Deadlines have a way of getting you there."
He thinks the decision could come as soon as this weekend. He expects Democrats will caucus Tuesday morning before the session and believes there's still hope for a consensus.