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High stakes in southwest senate election

Sunday - 6/29/2014, 9:41pm  ET

ALAN SUDERMAN

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- All eyes in Virginia politics are on the upcoming special election to fill former state Sen. Phil Puckett's seat.

The winner of the Aug. 19 election will decide which party controls the state Senate.

Democratic candidate Mike Hymes is touting his connections to the coal industry and downplaying his party affiliation. But Republican Del. Ben Chafin said he'll win because voters in Puckett's old district want a conservative Republican to represent them.

The 2011 election for the southwest Virginia senate district was expensive, with both candidates spending more than $1 million each. The candidates expect this race to be expensive as well.

Puckett shocked the Virginia political world with his sudden resignation on June 9. The FBI has been investigating the circumstances of his departure.


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