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Robert Byrd replacement not immediate concern for W. Va. Gov

Robert Byrd successor won't be named for awhile. West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin won't start a search until next week.

By Lawrence MessinaAP / June 30, 2010

A memorial to the late Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) is seen at his seat during Gen. David Petraeus confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee to be reapportioned as commander of the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan, on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 29, 2010. Sen. Byrd passed on June 28, 2010.

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Charleston, W. Va.

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin doesn't expect to start searching for a successor to U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd until after the longest-serving senator in history is laid to rest next week.

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Manchin says he's instead focused on comforting Byrd's family and staff, and preparing the West Virginia memorial scheduled for Friday for the iconic figure who died Monday at 92 after years of frail health.

Byrd will be interred next Tuesday alongside his wife of nearly 69 years, Erma, in Arlington, Va. A grandson is also buried at the cemetery near the senator's Beltway residence. The governor says he and First Lady Gayle Manchin plan to attend.

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