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‘No formal offer made’ McAuliffe says about voice mail left on out-going Senator’s phone

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Posted at 12:31 PM, Oct 03, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-03 12:31:07-04

RICHMOND, Va. — The chief of staff for Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe seemed to make former state Senator Philip Puckett (D – Russell) an offer in an effort to keep Puckett from resigning his seat and tipping the balance of power at the General Assembly, the Washington Post reported.

In a voice mail left on Puckett’s phone, chief of staff Paul Reagan said “we have a couple of big agencies here that we still need agency heads.” Reagan was referring to the possibility of Puckett’s daughter being named to one of those jobs.

The governor’s office issued in statement in light of the Washington Post’ report.

“Out of his concern that certain legislators were holding a qualified nominee hostage in order to force Phil Puckett from the Senate, Mr. Reagan acted on his own to inform the Senator that there were other available opportunities for which his daughter might apply,” McAullife spokesman Brian Coy said. “No further conversations about this topic ever occurred. No position was ever formally offered.”

Puckett decided to resign his seat, in part, to clear the way for his daughter, Martha Puckett Ketron, to  win a full appointment as a judge. The General Assembly does not approve full appointments to the family of other state lawmaker, according to a report in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Senator Puckett was offered a job by the Republican-controlled Virginia Tobacco Commission shortly after his resignation. The circumstances surrounding Puckett’s resignation are now the subject of a federal investigation.