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Virginia Turns Attention To Special Election That Will Decide Who Controls State Senate

The fight for control of the Virginia legislature is far from over.
Eli Christman: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gammaman/7186599588
The fight for control of the Virginia legislature is far from over.

In Virginia, Democrats and Republicans are focusing their attention on Loudoun County, where a special election for the state Senate this month may have drastic consequences.

The chamber is evenly split 20/20, with a Democrat set to take over as Lieutenant Governor. If Democrats are able to keep the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General-elect Mark Herring, they will be able to wield a tie-breaking vote in the chamber — a useful tool in the upcoming General Assembly session. In order to do that, though, Democrats will need to win in the special election scheduled for January 21.

"This special election, and the people who live in this district, will really have a very significant role to play in terms of the future legislative agenda of the governor," says Stephen Farnsworth, political science professor at the University of Mary Washington. He says Democrat Jennifer Wexton has the edge over Republican John Whitbeck and independent Joe May.

"This is also a district that does tilt Democratic. Democrats have won Senate elections there before. Obama won that district in the presidential election," he explains.

But special elections can be difficult to predict because the turnout is expected to be very low, which could help Republicans.

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