Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) called to leave a scathing message earlier this year with the Democratic state senator who sealed the demise of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, according to the Washington Post.
Phillip Puckett had resigned abruptly in June amid private talks with Virginia Republicans about a state job, swinging control of the closely divided chamber to the GOP, which was fighting the expansion for some 400,000 residents.
“Hey, Phil? Terry McAuliffe,” the governor said in what the Post described as a “seething voice message” to Puckett. “I want you to know we just lost the vote, 20 to 19, in the Senate. Medicaid is done. I hope you sleep easy tonight, buddy.”
Medicaid expansion was a high priority for McAuliffe, who had looked for legal avenues to end-run the legislature and establish it on his own, but came up empty.
Puckett landed in hot water after the Post reported in late June, weeks after he resigned, on secret talks he had with the Republican-led state tobacco commission about a job on the panel for the lawmaker. The position was to include a cell phone and a car, along with a judgeship for Puckett’s daughter, according to leaked emails.
Puckett subsequently took himself out of the running for the job.
McAuliffe’s office had fought to persuade Puckett to stay. It was later reported that before the resignation, the governor’s chief of staff, Paul Reagan, left Puckett a voicemail suggesting that the administration might make “available” a state agency job for his daughter if he stayed on to support Medicaid expansion. McAuliffe’s spokesman said the governor “did not know” about the call and stressed that no formal offer was made.