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Chafin, Hymes to square off in special election

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Local,Virginia

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

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 August 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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