Republicans pick their nominee to fill Puckett's seat in Va. Senate

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Del. Ben Chafin is the Republican nominee for the special election to fill former Sen. Phil Puckett's seat.

Del. Ben Chafin won the Republican nomination for the state Senate to replace former Sen. Phil Puckett, a Democrat. (Courtesy Photo)

Chafin won the GOP nod against two opponents at a mass meeting Thursday at the Tazewell County Fairgrounds. He'll face Tazewell County Supervisor Mike Hymes, a Democrat, in the special election set for Aug. 19.

Rick Mullins, the owner of a funeral home in Clintwood, says he plans to run as an independent.

The winner of the 38th District special election will decide which party controls the state Senate.

Puckett, a Democrat, shocked Virginia's political world with his sudden resignation on June 9. It gave Republicans a 20-19 advantage in the upper chamber.

The 38th District leans heavily Republican, and GOP candidates won by large margins in last year's elections.

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