ABINGDON, Va. — A political controversy is brewing just one week into the race for who will take over Bill Carrico's Virginia senate seat. Carrico and senate candidate Ken Heath are in a heated battle.
"He let an eastern Virginia, pompous radio show host make insinuations,” Carrico said.
Heath appeared on a Washington, D.C., radio show where the host accused Carrico of trying to "rig" the election in favor of his friend, Del. Todd Pillion.
Carrico gave Pillion a head's up about his retirement and then waited to announce it until after the deadline to run.
"I wasn't required by law or anything to tell anybody I was retiring,” Carrico said.
Heath says he wasn't trying to attack Carrico, even though he posted the segment and said nothing as the host continued the attack.
"No matter how much mud hits me, I'm not even going to stick my toe in the hog pen. I'm just not interested in doing that,” Heath said, insisting he is running a clean campaign.
Heath said he was only going to run if Carrico was not.
"The guys we had were doing a good job for Southwest Virginia, worked with them on several projects, and wouldn't dare challenge them,” Heath said.
Carrico said, "If it was such a secret, how did he find out? He found out because I told people on Friday I wasn't running."
Carrico said he told family, friends, senate leadership, his staff and Todd Pillion, but he said that doesn’t give Pillion an unfair advantage.
“He had nine days to file that paperwork.”
Heath did get that paperwork in just two minutes before deadline, but he thinks others should have had the same heads up Pillion got.
"He had the opportunity to put the paperwork in and more time to consider it. I'd like to have had that,” Heath said.
Todd Pillion was unavailable for comment for this story.
The mass meeting to decide the Republican nominee for this race is set for April 25 in Gate City.