(CNN) - West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin named attorney and political confidante Carte Goodwin on Friday to fill the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd's seat until a special election is held. Goodwin will be sworn in Tuesday.
A date for a special election still needs to be set, but it could occur as early November 2. Manchin himself has expressed interest in running for the seat.
Goodwin, a 36-year-old Democrat, served as Manchin's general counsel from 2005 until 2009. He is a lawyer in the Charleston law firm Goodwin & Goodwin.
"My responsibility (is) to work hard every day to maintain the trust of the people of West Virginia," Goodwin said. "My sole objective will be to make West Virginia proud. ... I'm excited about the challenge. I'm looking forward to it."
Manchin characterized Goodwin as "fiercely independent."
Noting that Goodwin will become the youngest member of Senate, Manchin said the appointment is a fitting way to replace Byrd, who was the chamber's oldest member when he died last month at the age of 92. We have "passed this torch to another generation," he declared.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-West Virginia, stressed the importance of Goodwin's appointment as the Senate's 59th Democrat. Immediately after Goodwin is sworn in, Rockefeller said, Democrats are expected to pass an unemployment benefits bill that has been blocked by the GOP leadership.
"I think it's a remarkable symbol of who Carte is, how important the Senate is (and) how unimportant the word 'interim' is," Rockefeller said.
Goodwin received his undergraduate degree from Marietta College and his law degree from Emory University.
- CNN's Mark Preston and Alan Silverleib contributed to this report