Washington (CNN) - Going a small step further than his governor, West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller told reporters Tuesday that he believes his state will appoint a replacement for former Sen. Robert Byrd, who died June 28, on Friday.
"My guess is that we'll have somebody Friday of this week," the Democrat said outside the Senate chamber.
Mountain State Governor Joe Manchin said last week that he hopes to have a new senator in place by then, but did not indicate the likelihood.
The decision over replacing the nation's longest-serving senator has been slowed down by competing interpretations of West Virginia's succession law, which states that any term of more than 30 months requires a special election. Byrd died with just a few days over 30 months left in his term, which was to expire January 3, 2013.
Manchin has called a special session of the West Virginia legislature to meet Thursday in order to clarify the law. The Democratic governor is expected to appoint a member of his party and has indicated he may run for the seat himself in the future.
Meanwhile, Democrats in Washington are counting the days and hours until a replacement is named.
Party leaders have frozen a vote on extending unemployment benefits until the appointment is made and they lock in an expected 59th vote.
Rockefeller said he is talking with Manchin daily and that both he and Senate Majority Leader Reid are pushing the governor for fast action.
"I'd like to have somebody up here tomorrow," Rockefeller said, "I just put pressure on (Governor Manchin) to get somebody up here."