West Virginia Senate

The West Virginia Senate is the upper house of the West Virginia Legislature. There are seventeen senatorial districts. Each district has two senators who serve staggered four-year terms. The Democrats gained two seats in the 2018 elections, bringing their total number of seats to 14, while the Republicans still hold a majority with 20.

West Virginia Senate
West Virginia Legislature
Term limits
New session started
January 9, 2019[1]
President of the Senate
Mitch Carmichael (R)
since January 11, 2017
President pro Tempore
Donna Boley (R)
since January 14, 2015
Majority Leader
Tom Takubo (R)
since November 26, 2018
Minority Leader
Roman Prezioso (D)
since January 11, 2017
Political groups
Length of term
4 years
AuthorityArticle VI, West Virginia Constitution
Salary$20,000/year + per diem
Last election
November 6, 2018
(17 seats)
Next election
November 3, 2020
(17 seats)
RedistrictingLegislative Control
Meeting place
Senate Chamber
West Virginia State Capitol
Charleston, West Virginia


Senators are elected for terms of four years that are staggered, meaning that only a portion of the 34 state senate seats are up every election.[2]

The state legislature meets on the second Wednesday of January each year and conducts a 60-day regular session.[2]

Legislative process

Unlike most state senates, the West Virginia Senate can introduce revenue bills.[2] Bills must undergo three readings in each house before being sent to the governor.[2] Bills are drafted by the Office of Legislative Services or legislative staff counsel, reviewed by the sponsor of the bill and submitted for introduction.[3] Bills are assigned to committees that make recommendations about a bill in the form of a committee report.[3]

Bills approved in both the West Virginia Senate and West Virginia House of Delegates are then submitted to the governor, who has the power to sign them into law or veto them.[2] The state legislature can override the veto, unless they have already adjourned.[2]


The state's districting system is unique in the United States. Prior to the 2010 Census the state's most populous county, Kanawha County constituted two "superimposed" districts. In practical effect, this meant that Kanawha County was a single district electing two members every two years. The remaining 54 counties of the state were divided into fifteen districts, with county lines not respected in most cases.[4]

Under the unique rule, no multi-county district (and every district except Kanawha's is a multi-county district) may have more than one senator from the same county,[5] no matter the population. This means, for example, that one of the 5th District's two senators must reside in Cabell County and the other must reside in the tiny portion of Wayne County that's inside the 5th District, even though Cabell County has far more people than the portion of Wayne County that is part of the 5th District. However, both senators are elected by everybody within the district, not just by the people of the county in which the senators reside.

Responding to the 2010 Census the Senate redistricted itself. Kanawha County was divided for the first time in the Senate's history, with the northern and western portions joining a part of Putnam County as the 8th District and the remainder of the county constituting the 17th district on its own. This reduced the number of Senators from Kanawha County from four to three, as one of the 8th's must be a resident of Putnam.

The remainder of the state was redistricted, reflecting the continuing shift of the state's population to the Eastern Panhandle and to Monongalia County, however no incumbents were placed in districts where they had to run against one another, except for the Kanawha situation. Because senators are elected for four-year terms, the redistricting did not come fully into effect until after the 2014 election.[6]

Senate President

The Senate elects its own president from its membership. Mitch Carmichael is currently the President of the West Virginia Senate.

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, who stands 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."

Current Composition

84th Legislature (2019-2020)

Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Republican Democratic Vacant
Beginning of the 82nd Legislature 18 16 34 0
End of the 82nd Legislature
Beginning of the 83rd Legislature 22 12 34 0
End of the 83rd Legislature
Beginning of the 84th Legislature 20 14 34 0
Latest voting share 58.82% 41.18%

Leadership of the 84th West Virginia Senate

President of the Senate/Lieutenant GovernorMitch CarmichaelRepublican4Jackson Co.
President Pro TemporeDonna BoleyRepublican3Pleasants Co.
Majority LeaderTom TakuboRepublican17Kanawha Co.
Minority LeaderRoman PreziosoDemocratic13Marion Co.
Majority WhipRyan WeldRepublican1Brooke Co.
Minority WhipCorey PalumboDemocratic17Kanawha Co.

Members of the 84th West Virginia Senate

DistrictSenatorPartyResidenceCounties represented[7]
1 William J. Ihlenfeld II Dem Ohio Brooke, Hancock, Ohio, Marshall (part)
Ryan Weld Rep Brooke
2 Charles H. Clements Rep Wetzel Calhoun, Doddridge, Gilmer (part), Marion (part),
Marshall (part), Monongalia (part), Tyler, Ritchie, Wetzel
Mike Maroney Rep Marshall
3 Mike Azinger Rep Wood Pleasants, Roane (part), Wirt, Wood
Donna J. Boley Rep Pleasants
4 Eric Tarr Rep Putnam Jackson, Mason, Putnam (part), Roane (part)
Mitch Carmichael Rep Jackson
5 Mike Woelfel Dem Cabell Cabell, Wayne (part)
Robert H. Plymale Dem Wayne
6 Mark R. Maynard Rep Wayne McDowell (part), Mercer, Mingo (part), Wayne (part)
Chandler Swope Rep Mercer
7 Ron Stollings Dem Boone Boone, Lincoln, Logan, Mingo (part), Wayne (part)
Paul Hardesty[note 1] Dem Logan
8 Richard Lindsay Dem Kanawha Kanawha (part), Putnam (part)
Glenn Jeffries Dem Putnam
9 Rollan Roberts Rep Raleigh Raleigh, Wyoming, McDowell (part)
Sue Cline Rep Wyoming
10 Stephen Baldwin Dem Greenbrier Fayette, Greenbrier, Monroe, Summers
Kenny Mann Rep Fayette
11 Bill Hamilton Rep Upshur Grant (part), Nicholas, Pendleton, Pocahontas,
Randolph, Upshur, Webster
Greg Boso Rep Nicholas
12 Mike Romano Dem Harrison Clay, Braxton, Gilmer (part), Lewis, Harrison
Doug Facemire Dem Braxton
13 Bob Beach Dem Monongalia Marion (part), Monongalia (part)
Roman Prezioso Dem Marion
14 David Sypolt Rep Preston Barbour, Grant (part), Hardy, Mineral (part),
Monongalia (part), Preston, Taylor, Tucker
Randy Smith Rep Tucker
15 Charles S. Trump Rep Morgan Berkeley (part), Hampshire, Mineral (part), Morgan
Craig Blair Rep Berkeley
16 John Unger Dem Berkeley Berkeley (part), Jefferson
Patricia Rucker Rep Jefferson
17 Tom Takubo Rep Kanawha Kanawha (part)
Corey Palumbo Dem
  1. Hardesty sworn in January 18, 2019. Appointed by Governor Justice to replace Richard Ojeda, who resigned to run for president.


Past composition of the Senate

See also


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