Gillespie calls Warner accusations ‘deeply troubling’

Posted at 10:49 PM, Oct 11, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-13 11:22:38-04

RICHMOND, VA  -- We are inside a month before Virginians head to the polls in the race for US Senate.

While Senator Mark Warner has lead at times by double digits, his campaign may be suffering from its first potential slip up.

This as accusations abound that Warner allegedly offered former Virginia State Senator Phil Puckett's daughter a corporate job or a federal judgeship if Puckett remained in the Virginia Senate.

Democrats fought tirelessly before Puckett eventually resigned to keep him there because without him Republicans would gain control of the chamber.

The accusations are coming from Charles "Chuck" James, an attorney who is representing members of the Puckett family.

"Mark Warner called my client, in an apparent  attempt to convince Senator Puckett to remain in the General Assembly, and asked if my client's sister would be interested  in a corporate job or as a federal judge. The offers were declined," James told CBS 6 political reporter Joe St. George.

James clarified his accusation Late Sunday saying the jobs prospects presented by Warner were "what if" and "would she be interested in" in nature.

Representatives from the Warner campaign did not immediately get back to CBS 6 for comment but aides did tell the Washington Post that Warner never explicitly offered Puckett's daughter any job.

"If the charge can be substantiated in any way it would be a rocky patch," CBS 6 political analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth said.

"This charge is nothing short of explosive," Holsworth added.

Holsworth cautions however that the accusations are coming from the Pucketts -- who are trying to avoid an indictment.

"This is really an organized part of a defense strategy," Holsworth said.

Warner's opponent in the November election Ed Gillespie issued this statement:

"The report that Senator Warner may have suggested a Federal judgeship or other job in relation to a political decision is deeply troubling. We all need more answers on this matter and he owes Virginians a full explanation of his actions."

Warner will likely address the issue head on Monday night at the People's Debate on CBS 6.