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  Republicans Favored to Recapture Virginia State Senate
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ContributorScottĀ³ 
Last EditedScottĀ³  Nov 04, 2011 04:40pm
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CategoryAnalysis
AuthorDan Roem
News DateSaturday, November 5, 2011 12:00:00 AM UTC0:0
Description"Republicans are likely to reclaim control of the Virginia state Senate when voters go to the polls next Tuesday. The final tally is worth watching as a predictor, as in recent years the outcome of the off-year elections have been harbingers of the following year's federal races in the commonwealth.

In 2012, Virginia will play host to what promises to be one of the most competitive Senate races and a presidential election in which both parties will be competing feverishly, following President Obama's victory in 2008, which was the first such win for a Democratic presidential nominee since 1964.

For hints about 2012, 2011 should be watched closely. Consider that in 2003, Republicans won 24 out of 40 state Senate seats, and the next year, George W. Bush carried the commonwealth as did eight out of 11 GOP House candidates. In 2005, Democrat Tim Kaine won the highly-contested governor's race, which was followed a year later by Sen. Jim Webb's razor-thin win over Republican George Allen.

In 2007, Democrats flipped control of the state Senate while picking up seats in the state House of Delegates as well. That was something of a prelude to 2008, when Obama carried Virginia en route to winning the presidency. Down the ballot, Democrat Mark Warner won the Senate race. Democrats also picked up three House seats.

Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell's 2009 victory coupled with the party's down ballot success that year came a year ahead of the GOP picking up three Congressional seats the following year.

To retain control of the state Senate in 2011, Democrats can only afford to lose one of the 22 districts they now control in the 40-seat chamber: Republican Lieutenant Gov. Bill Bolling would give Republicans an edge in a 20-20 Senate.

But the game is being played on the Democrats' field following redistricting, which eliminated two GOP state Senate seats down state and created open seats outside of Richmond and in Northern Virginia. That means the Republicans start
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