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Democratic party chief quits to lead Manchin PAC

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Eleven weeks after an unprecedented election that resulted in a massive power shift in the statehouse and Congressional districts, the West Virginia Democratic Party chairman is resigning from his post.

Larry Puccio stepped down from the position he has held since 2010, when he announced his resignation Thursday. Puccio will become the chairman of Sen. Joe Manchin’s Country Roads PAC.

His departure will leave party vice chairwoman Belinda Biafore to serve as temporary chairwoman until the executive committee selects a replacement.

“From my time as Governor and now to my time in the Senate, Larry has always been a trusted advisor and someone who has always been connected to the political and legislative workings of West Virginia,” Manchin said in a news release. “Larry’s years of experience and dedication to the state of West Virginia will allow me to better serve the state as its senior Senator and stay connected to the issues that are affecting them.”

When reached Thursday afternoon, Puccio said he had been talking with Manchin since last summer about resigning his chairmanship and taking over the now senior senator’s political action committee.

“But we didn’t think it was the right time with elections coming up,” he said. “Sen. Manchin now believes he needs his PAC and the political arm of that PAC to be as active as can be.”

Puccio said while he will be connecting with people inside and outside the state he will continue to live in West Virginia.

“I’ll never leave this state,” he said, reiterating his plans to maintain a presence in West Virginia as a lobbyist…

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