Gov. Tomblin and the Legislature are facing a Rubik's Cube of politics because of a couple of pending vacancies.
Longtime state Sen. Joe Minard of Clarksburg is in line to be the next Senate clerk following the retirement of Darrell Holmes. Minard's move creates a vacancy in the 12th district.
Thursday, the 12th Senatorial District Democratic Executive Committee, with representatives from Braxton, Gilmer, Harrison and Lewis Counties, will meet in Flatwoods to determine a list of possible replacements. Tomblin will choose the replacement from those nominees.
Here are some names expected to be on that list:
Current House of Delegates members Tim Miley, Sam Cann and Richard Iaquinta; Ron Fragale, who lost re-election in 2012; and Harrison County Commissioner Mike Romano.
Some statehouse observers believe Tomblin will go with Miley, who wants the opportunity to be in the state Senate, but that creates other complications for the governor.
The Tomblin administration has a good working relationship with Miley, who serves as chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee. Miley's departure would create uncertainty heading into the Legislative session, which starts in February.
Possible replacements for Miley as chairman of Judiciary include vice-chairman Mark Hunt, Delegates Tim Manchin and Barbara Fleischauer.
The administration has butted heads with the strong-willed Manchin, and Fleischauer is one of the most liberal members of the House, while Tomblin is a conservative Democrat.
Tomblin could leave Miley where he is and choose Sam Cann. Cann is a business-friendly Democrat, but perhaps more importantly, he is a longtime friend of Tomblin's.
But if Tomblin chooses Cann, it could set up a bitter primary battle in the next election between Cann and Miley if Miley decides to run for the Senate.