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High Stakes For Northern Va. Republicans In ABC Privatization Debate

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By Jonathan Wilson

In Virginia, Governor Bob McDonnell is still trying to win over skeptics of his plan to privatize state-run liquor stores to raise money for transportation projects.

For many religious organizations in Virginia, it's simple. The Governor's plan would triple the number of places Virginians can get hard liquor.

Jack Knapp, with the Virginia Assembly of Independent Baptists, says that's inviting all sorts of other problems.

"You're going to have more spousal abuse, more child abuse, et cetera. Those things are all going to increase in the days ahead," says Knapp.

But Governor McDonnell says there's no real evidence that privatization fosters these types of problems.

"There's no significant difference between control-monopoly states, and private states, when it comes to binge drinking, DUIs, underage drinking," says McDonnell.

Stephen Farnsworth, a political science professor at George Mason University, says for most voters in Northern Virginia, the debate over the evils of alcohol takes a backseat to whether McDonnell can truly deliver transportation funding.

"The revenue that's being talked about is speculative, the taxes are speculative, the transition costs are uncertain," says Farnsworth.

Farnsworth says if McDonnell's plan falls flat, it's Republican General Assembly members who'll suffer the most; McDonnell can only serve one term, and they will be trying to get re-elected.

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