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 Residence
John M. Phelps Republican 1863–1864 Mason Co.
William E. Stevenson Republican 1864–1869 Wood Co.
D.D.T. Farnsworth Republican 1869–1871 Upshur Co.
Lewis Baker Democratic 1871–1872 Ohio Co.
Carlos A. Sperry Democratic 1872–1872 Greenbrier Co.
Daniel D. Johnson Democratic 1872–1877, 1879–1881 Tyler Co.
Ulysses N. Arnett Democratic 1877–1879 Marion Co.
Albert E. Summers Democratic 1881–1883 Kanawha Co.
Thomas J. Farnsworth Democratic 1883–1885 Upshur Co.
George E. Price Democratic 1885–1889 Mineral Co.
Robert S. Carr Democratic 1889–1891 Kanawha Co.
John W. McCreery Democratic 1891–1893 Raleigh Co.
Rankin Wiley, Jr. Democratic 1893–1895 Mason Co.
William G. Worley Republican 1895–1897 Preston Co.
Nelson E. Whitaker Republican 1897–1899 Ohio Co.
Oliver S. Marshall Republican 1899–1901 Hancock Co.
Anthony Smith Republican 1901–1903 Tyler Co.
Clarke W. May Republican 1903–1905 Lincoln Co.
Gustavus A. Northcott Republican 1905–1907 Cabell Co.
Joseph H. McDermott Republican 1907–1909 Monongalia Co.
L. J. Forman Republican 1909–1911 Grant Co.
Henry D. Hatfield Republican 1911–1913 McDowell Co.
Samuel V. Woods Democratic 1913–1915 Barbour Co.
Edward T. England Republican 1915–1917 Logan Co.
Wells Goodykoontz Republican 1917–1919 Mingo Co.
Charles A. Sinsel Republican 1919–1921 Taylor Co.
Gohen C. Arnold Republican 1921–1922 Upshur Co.
Harry G. Shaffer Republican 1923–1925 Boone Co.
Charles G. Coffman Republican 1925–1925 Harrison Co.
M.Z. White Republican 1925–1933 Mingo Co.
A.G. Mathews Democratic 1933–1935 Calhoun Co.
Charles E. Hodges Democratic 1935–1939, Monongalia Co.
William M. LaFon Democratic 1939–1941 Monroe Co.
Byron B. Randolph Democratic 1941–1943 Harrison Co.
James Paull Democratic 1943–1945 Brooke Co.
Arnold M. Vickers Democratic 1945–1949 Fayette Co.
W. Broughton Johnston Democratic 1949–1953 Mercer Co.
Ralph J. Bean Democratic 1953–1961 Hardy Co.
Howard W. Carson Democratic 1961–1969 Fayette Co.
Lloyd G. Jackson Democratic 1969–1971 Lincoln Co.
E. Hansford McCourt Democratic 1971–1973 Webster Co.
William T. Brotherton, Jr. Democratic 1973–1981 Kanawha Co.
Warren McGraw Democratic 1981–1985 Wyoming Co.
Dan R. Tonkovich Democratic 1985–1989 Marshall Co.
Larry A. Tucker Democratic 1989–1989 Nicholas Co.
Keith Burdette Democratic 1989–1995 Wood Co.
Earl Ray Tomblin* # Democratic 1995–2011 Logan Co.
Jeffrey V. Kessler Democratic 2011-2015 Marshall Co.
Bill Cole Republican 2015- Mercer Co.

*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.


See also