President of the West Virginia Senate

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The Senate elects its own president from its membership. On January 14, 2015, the Senate named Bill Cole Senate President after Republicans regained control of the Senate after 80 years.

While the West Virginia Constitution does not create or even mention the title of lieutenant governor, West Virginia Code 6A-1-4 creates this designation for the Senate President. The Senate President is first in the line of succession to the office of governor. As stated in Article 7 Section 16 of the constitution: "In case of the death, conviction or impeachment, failure to qualify, resignation, or other disability of the governor, the president of the Senate shall act as governor until the vacancy is filled, or the disability removed." However, the Senate President may not always serve the remainder of the term as the constitution also states: "Whenever a vacancy shall occur in the office of governor before the first three years of the term shall have expired, a new election for governor shall take place to fill the vacancy."


Below is a list of Presidents of the West Virginia Senate since 1863:

Name Party Term
John M. Phelps Republican 1863–1864
William E. Stevenson Republican 1864–1869
Daniel Farnsworth Republican 1869–1871
Lewis Baker Democratic 1871–1872
Carlos A. Sperry Democratic 1872–1872
Daniel D. Johnson Democratic 1872–1877
Ulysses N. Arnett Democratic 1877–1879
Daniel D. Johnson Democratic 1879–1881
Albert E. Summers Democratic 1881–1883
Thomas J. Farnsworth Democratic 1883–1885
George E. Price Democratic 1885–1889
Robert S. Carr Democratic 1889–1891
John W. McCreery Democratic 1891–1893
Rankin Wiley, Jr. Democratic 1893–1895
William G. Worley Republican 1895–1897
Nelson E. Whitaker Republican 1897–1899
Oliver S. Marshall Republican 1899–1901
Anthony Smith Republican 1901–1903
Clarke W. May Republican 1903–1905
Gustavus A. Northcott Republican 1905–1907
Joseph H. McDermott Republican 1907–1909
Lewis Forman Republican 1909–1911
Henry D. Hatfield Republican 1911–1913
Samuel V. Woods Democratic 1913–1915
Edward T. England Republican 1915–1917
Wells Goodykoontz Republican 1917–1919
Charles A. Sinsel Republican 1919–1921
Gohen C. Arnold Republican 1921–1922
Harry Shaffer Republican 1923–1925
Charles G. Coffman Republican 1925–1925
Montezuma White Republican 1925–1933
Albert Mathews Democratic 1933–1935
Charles E. Hodges Democratic 1935–1939
William M. LaFon Democratic 1939–1941
Byron B. Randolph Democratic 1941–1943
James Paull Democratic 1943–1945
Arnold M. Vickers Democratic 1945–1949
W. Broughton Johnston Democratic 1949–1953
Ralph J. Bean Democratic 1953–1961
Howard W. Carson Democratic 1961–1969
Lloyd G. Jackson Democratic 1969–1971
E. Hansford McCourt Democratic 1971–1973
William Brotherton Democratic 1973–1981
Warren McGraw Democratic 1981–1985
Dan R. Tonkovich Democratic 1985–1989
Larry A. Tucker Democratic 1989–1989
Keith Burdette Democratic 1989–1995
Earl Ray Tomblin*# Democratic 1995–2011
Jeffrey V. Kessler Democratic 2011–2015
Bill Cole Republican 2015–2017
Mitch Carmichael Republican 2017–present

*By an act of the West Virginia Legislature and beginning with Tomblin in 2000, WV Code 6A-1-4(b) assigns the title "Lieutenant Governor" to the President of the West Virginia Senate
#Concurrently served as Acting Governor from November 15, 2010 until inaugurated as Governor on November 13, 2011. During this time, the West Virginia Senate named Jeffrey V. Kessler as Acting President of the Senate.


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