Sen. Byrd, 92, Dies in Virginia Hospital

UPDATE 6:39 am

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.V.), 92, died at 3:00 am in the Inova Hospital in Fairfax, Va.  Jesse Jacobs, a family spokesman, said Byrd died peacefully.

ORIGINAL 6/27/10

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.V.) was admitted to a D.C. area hospital late last week and is in serious condition.

Byrd was initially thought to suffer from dehydration and heat exhaustion due to an extended period of high humidity and temperatures in the Nation’s Capitol exceeding 90 degrees.

The Associated Press is reporting further complications were found when doctors examined the 92-year-old senator. 

From the AP report:

In November, Byrd broke the record for congressional service that had been set by Democrat Carl Hayden of Arizona, who served in the House and Senate from 1912 to 1969.

Byrd began his career in Washington in 1952 with his election to the House. His elevation to the Senate came six years later.

Byrd has been in frail health in recent years and was hospitalized three times in 2009. He has been confined to a wheelchair, but was present and voted "yes" for final Senate passage of the health care reform bill in March.

Byrd has been the longest-serving senator since June 2006 and was elected to an unprecedented ninth term in November 2006. His colleagues have elected him to more leadership positions than any senator in history. He has cast more than 18,000 votes and has a nearly 98 percent attendance record over the course of his career.

Discover the Networks, a report of the political left, offers an extensive profile of the Democrat senator’s storied career and voting record.

Byrd has been hospitalized three times since 2009.  If he were unable to continue in his capacity as U.S. Senator, his replacement would be named by West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin, a Democrat.

Nate Silver of Five Thirty Eight Blog notes:

Byrd’s current term expires on January 3, 2013. Under West Virginia state law on handling Senate vacancies, “if the vacancy occurs less than two years and six months before the end of the term, the Governor appoints someone to fill the unexpired term and there is no election.” Otherwise, Manchin would appoint an interim replacement, and [a] special election would be held in November to determine who held the seat in 2011 and 2012… If a vacancy were to be declared on July 3rd or later, there would not be an election to replace Byrd until 2012.