The (temporary) senator from West Virginia

THE (TEMPORARY) SENATOR FROM WEST VIRGINIA…. West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) has selected Carte Goodwin, his former chief counsel, to fill the U.S. Senate vacancy left by the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D).

Goodwin, the youngest among those considered potential choices, worked on Manchin’s 2004 campaign for governor before becoming his chief lawyer. He served in that post until shortly after Manchin began his second term in 2009, leaving for his family’s law firm. […]

Last year, Manchin tapped Goodwin to lead an extensive review of the state’s judiciary amid complaints from business groups and conflict-of-interest scandals involving state Supreme Court justices. Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor served as the study commission’s nonvoting honorary chair.

While Manchin’s general counsel, Goodwin was considered key in drafting mine rescue and safety measures passed after fatal accidents at West Virginia’s Sago and Aracoma coal mines in early 2006.

MSNBC has a good bio on the 36-year-old Goodwin, who, despite experience in government, has never held elected office or worked as a lawmaker. Nevertheless, the early reports out of West Virginia suggest the selection is being well received, even by the state Chamber of Commerce.

The plan is to swear Goodwin in on Tuesday afternoon, at which point the Senate Democratic caucus will once again stand at 59 members. His presence will probably be put to good use fairly quickly — the leadership wants the Senate to vote on Tuesday on an extension of unemployment benefits, and Goodwin’s vote will likely be necessary to overcome a Republican filibuster.

The temporary senator will serve though November.