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After Stunning Departure, Candidates Line Up For Russell County Special Election

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Two candidates have already thrown their hats into the ring seeking the seat vacated by former Democratic state Senator Phil Puckett of Russell County, Virginia.

Tazewell County Supervisor Mike Hymes is seeking the Democratic nomination for the 38th Senate District, which includes several counties in southwest Virginia. Hymes is a third generation coal miner, was raised at a coal camp in Bishop before moving with his family to Tazewell.

Republican Delegate Ben Chafin of Lebanon announced his candidacy last week. Chafin is an attorney who has been endorsed by several of his Republican House colleagues.

Puckett rocked Virginia politics last week with his sudden and unexpected resignation. It gave Republicans a 20-19 advantage in the upper chamber.

Democrats will formally pick a candidate at a mass meeting on Wednesday. Republicans will pick their candidate Thursday.

The special election is set for Aug 19.

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