VA Senate Rocked by Dem Resignation

The Washington Post is reporting that Virginia Democratic State Sen. Phillip P. Puckett is expected to resign today in a move that will hand the governing body’s power to Republicans. According to insiders, Puckett is stepping down in exchange for being appointed deputy director of the state tobacco commission and have his daughter appointed to a judgeship. The details behind this sudden move are not yet clear, but if Puckett is resigning because he was explicitly guaranteed this position on the tobacco commission (whose chairman and vice chairman are both Republicans), it could be considered a serious bribery charge. Virginia Democrats are outraged at the prospect of losing Puckett and power in the state senate, especially when it comes as Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe is pushing a proposal to expand health-care coverage to 400,000 low-income Virginians. “The House Republican caucus will do anything and everything to prevent low-income Virginians from getting health care.... They figure the only way they could win was to give a job to a state senator,” delegate Scott A. Surovell (D-Fairfax) said. “At least they can’t offer Terry McAuliffe a job.”