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High Stakes In Virginia Elections

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It's less than a week before election day, and control of Virginia's senate is up for grabs in this off-election year. Reid Wilson, editor-in-chief of National Journal Hotline, talks with WAMU Morning Edition host Matt McCleskey about what to expect during the home stretch in this campaign as well as some other state races.

Virginia Senate could change hands

Republicans are hoping to gain control of the Virginia senate next Tuesday, and they only need to pick up two or three Democratically-controlled seats to do it. Republicans' success next week would mean that Virginia's state house, senate, and governor are all Republican controlled. 

"It's Democrats' last hope to keep a foothold in Virginia," Wilson says. The results of next week's election will be "crucial" going into the 2012 elections, he adds. Virginia is being considered a key battleground in the presidential election, and both parties are expected to square off in the senate race there. 

"This is a big deal," Wilson says. "It kind of portends the future of Virginia politics." 

Dems, GOP both spending big bucks

The two major political parties appear to agree, and have been devoting farm more resources to the Virginia races this year than they have in previous off-year elections. More than $5 million has flowed into several targeted state races just in the past five weeks; Republicans have spent $2 million of that, Wilson says. 

Washington State referendum could affect Virginia liquor laws

Although there are races in a few other states -- the governors' races in Kentucky and Mississippi, and state races in New Jersey -- none are expected to be particularly surprising, says Wilson. There could be some implications of a referendum on the ballot in Washington State, however; Costco is asking voters to vote to allow other, non-state entities to sell liquor. 

Virginia currently restricts liquor sales to state-run liquor stores. But if the legislation passes in Washington state … it's likely see something similar happen in a number of states around the country," Wilson says.

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