Who Will Be the New Junior Senator from West Virginia?

UPDATE ( Friday, 11:02am ET): Fox News' Major Garrett has confirmed that West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin (D) will pick former aide Carte Goodwin to fill Byrd's U.S. Senate seat.  Manchin will announce this in his news conference at 2:00pm ET.[foxlivestream 4]

Governor Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., will announce who will become the most junior member of the U.S. Senate at 2:00 p.m. ET Friday. But who will it be?

We’re not quite sure yet, but I have compiled a list of people who might be the big winner, with a little help from the rest of the Fox team and two West Virginia “political experts”: Molly Henneberg’s Great Aunt Pinkie and Cousin Jimmy.

Carte Goodwin – former general counsel for Gov. Joe Manchin for 3.5 years. Like Manchin, he’s also part of a West Virginia political family. He’s been the name mentioned to me by several folks at the state Capitol.

Nick Casey – former chair of the West Virginia Democratic Party. He’s currently nominated for a federal judgeship, so he may be disinclined to give that up for a temporary seat. However if he were selected, it would give him time to schmooze the people that would end up voting on his confirmation. Casey is also Pinkie and Jimmy’s “Lead Pipe Lock.”

Gaston Caperton – West Virginia Governor from '89-'97. Could be selected as a West Virginia elder statesman-type, but his relationship with Manchin is unclear.

Tom Flahrety – sits on the West Virginia University Board of Governors. He’s a personal friend of Manchin.

Larry Pucio – current head of the West Virginia Democratic Party. Served as Manchin’s chief of staff during his first term.

Anne Barth – Byrd’s former state director. Many press reports have her listed as a potential selection.

Whomever the appointee is, he or she will serve temporarily until the people of West Virginia vote on a permanent replacement, which could occur as soon as November.

Fox News’ Mike Tobin, Trish Turner, Chad Pergram, and Molly Henneberg contributed to this report.