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Virginia Republicans To Convene In Roanoke To Pick U.S. Senate Candidate

In Virginia, Republicans from across the commonwealth are preparing to gather this weekend in a convention to select their candidate for U.S. Senate.

The memory of last year's Republican convention is still fresh in the minds of party leaders as they prepare to gather at the Roanoke Convention Center this weekend. They believe that last year's convention offers a cautionary tale.

"The establishment Republicans are going to do everything they possibly can to make sure that there is no repeat of last year's general election debacle," says University of Mary Washington professor Stephen Farnsworth.

A debacle because all the candidates lost. And the candidate for lieutenant governor, E.W. Jackson, who was largely unknown before the convention, became a focal point for the campaign because of his rhetoric against abortion and homosexuality.

This year, only the race for U.S. Senate will be on the ballot. Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie leads the pack, although he's challenged by Air Force pilot Shak Hill, businessman Chuck Moss and policy advisor Tony DeTora. But a lack of buzz around those candidates leads some to believe that Gillespie has it locked up.

"My sense is that if something was afoot, we would maybe be hearing a little bit more about it. So my sense is that Gillespie basically should be fine," says University of Virginia Center for Politics analyst Kyle Kondick.

The winner of the convention will go on to face Democratic incumbent Mark Warner this fall.

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