(CNN) – The West Virginia state legislature on Monday approved a plan to hold a special election in November to fill the seat of the late U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd.
Gov. Joe Manchin, a Democrat considered a likely candidate for the Senate race, signed the measure after a compromise worked out by state lawmakers won final approval.
The primary election will be August 28 and the vote for Byrd's successor will take place as part of the congressional mid-term election November 2, Manchin said.
Last week, Manchin appointed a former aide as the interim replacement for Byrd until the special election. The interim senator, Carte Goodwin, is expected to cast a key vote Tuesday when the U.S. Senate considers extending unemployment benefits.
A Republican filibuster has prevented Democrats from ending debate on the measure, but with Goodwin's vote and support from two Republicans, Democrats believe they can overcome the GOP maneuver.
Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama thanked the WNBA champion Phoenix Mercury players at a White House reception Monday for being good role models for his daughters.
"I want Malia and Sasha to know that there is absolutely no contradiction between women who are beautiful and healthy and contributing, and good athletes and competitive," Obama told the players, later adding: "As a father, I thank you for being great role models."
The Mercury won their second WNBA title in three years last season, and Obama noted that one of their biggest fans - Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano - was in the audience.
Washington (CNN) - Senate Democratic leaders have concluded that the only way to pass critical war-funding before the fast-approaching August congressional recess is for the House to drop its insistence that the measure include billions of dollars for unrelated domestic programs, a top Senate Democratic leadership aide told CNN.
The extra money, which includes funds to help cash-strapped states avoid teacher layoffs, has drawn fire from Republicans who complain it's a giveaway to the teachers' unions.
The White House, which doesn't oppose giving states money for teachers, also objects to the House legislation because it pays for the teacher initiative by cutting funding from President Obama's "Race to the Top" education reform program.
Washington (CNN) – Idaho Rep. Walt Minnick, the only Democrat to receive the backing of the Tea Party Express, has rejected the group's endorsement in a letter sent Monday to its co-chair Amy Kremer.
"[I]n any movement there are those who take things too far and say or do hateful, hurtful things which harm the cause of the entire group," Minnick wrote in the letter. "However, those who rise to or claim leadership in those movements have an obligation to lead with a respect for the movement and its members, and thus be responsible with words and actions."
Minnick's announcement comes a day after the Tea Party Express was expelled from The National Tea Party Federation, an organization that seeks to represent the Tea Party political movement around the country. The expulsion was the result of an inflammatory blog post penned by Tea Party Express spokesman Mark Williams.
Minnick pointed to the post as a reason for his dissatisfaction, calling it "reprehensible."
(CNN) - The journey was long for Ignacia Moya, but on July 19, at the age of 106, she was finally able to attain a dream that she has been working toward for years: becoming a citizen of the United States.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Illinois, assisted Moya in her quest to attain citizenship.
At the Chicago ceremony where Moya was sworn in, Gutierrez said she had two reasons for wanting to be a citizen.
(CNN) – Sarah Palin sided with another "Mama Grizzly" in a prominent Republican primary on Monday, endorsing Kelly Ayotte for Senate in New Hampshire.
The endorsement is Palin's first political move in the state, which will once again hold the first-in-the-nation Republican presidential primary in February 2012. She has already backed midterm candidates in the other key early states of Iowa and South Carolina, but has not visited New Hampshire since the 2008 presidential race.
Ayotte, the state's Attorney General until last year, has three opponents in the GOP primary, but the race has shaped up as a battle between her and Bill Binnie, a millionaire businessman who has given more than $3 million to his own campaign.
"Kelly is the strongest commonsense conservative who can win in the fall," Palin wrote on her Facebook page. "I knew I liked her when I met her earlier this year, and I know this Granite Grizzly will represent New Hampshire with distinction in Washington."
Palin's endorsement is somewhat of a surprise, given Ayotte's sometimes troubled relationship with conservative activists in the Granite State. She won the early backing of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, earning her a reputation as the "establishment" figure in the race.
Having Palin's backing could fix all that, according to several top Republicans in the state.
(CNN) - Eight more employees from the Utah Department of Workforce Services are being questioned in connection with a leaked list containing personal information of 1,300 alleged illegal immigrants, Dave Lewis, a department spokesman, said Monday afternoon.
He said that makes a total of 10 employees questioned, including the two placed on administrative leave last week.
Investigators are interviewing employees who have had access to certain cases "for legitimate business reasons," he said. "We want to give them the opportunity to explain work they're doing."
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama is getting rave reviews in the District of Colombia and Hawaii, but he's not playing as well in Wyoming, Utah, Idaho and West Virginia, according to newly released national poll numbers.
A Gallup survey released Monday indicates that during the first half of 2010, 85 percent of residents in the District of Columbia approved of the job Obama was doing as president, with 68 percent of Hawaiians giving him a thumbs up.
Democrats overwhelmingly dominate in Washington D.C. and they also greatly outnumber Republicans in Hawaii, the state where Obama spent much of his childhood and teenaged years.
Washington (CNN) – Chasing Latino votes in the neck and neck California race for governor, Republican candidate Meg Whitman's new Spanish language ad details a better, brighter future for California's Latino kids.
Whitman's new ad, "Mejor Educación," or "Better Education", highlights her stance on education and the importance of education for Latino children.
"California has been blessed with the most beautiful natural resources in the world. But our most important resource is our young people," says Whitman in the ad.
(CNN) – Former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin has joined the pantheon of politicians who've made their own additions to the English language.
The former Alaska governor has added to our vocabulary with "refudiates" - assumedly an amalgamation of "refute" and "repudiates." Palin used the new word in a Sunday posting on Twitter that called on Muslims to denounce plans to build a mosque and community center near Ground Zero in New York City.
"Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn't it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate," Palin tweeted, according to reports.