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Local Virginia Senator resigns amid bitter budget battle

Published On: Jun 08 2014 10:37:14 PM CDT
RUSSELL COUNTY, Va. -

The governor's office says a Democratic state senator is resigning, giving Republicans a one-seat advantage in the chamber in the middle of a bitter battle between the parties over Medicaid expansion.
    
Gov. Terry McAuliffe spokesman Brian Coy says Sen. Phil Puckett notified the governor's office Saturday that he's stepping down.
    
Puckett could not be immediately reached for comment.
    
Republican Delegate Terry Kilgore says the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization's executive committee is considering giving Puckett a staff job. Kilgore is the chairman of the commission.
    
Senate Democratic Leader Richard Saslaw says Puckett's resignation will be effective Monday.
    
McAuliffe's office said in a statement Sunday that he was deeply disappointed by the resignation of a fellow Democrat and the uncertainty that creates around expanding Medicaid. McAuliffe favors widening the health care program for the poor.