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Virginia state Senate races poised to be big dollar affairs

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By ALAN H. SUDERMAN

Associated Press

RICHMOND (AP) - The fight for control of the Virginia state Senate is shaping up to be a big dollar affair as Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe said he's making it a top priority for his party to retake control of the upper chamber.

Only a handful of races are expected to be competitive in this fall's elections with much of the attention focused on a Democratic-leaning district in the Richmond area that's home to retiring Republican Sen. John Watkins.

Democrats lost control of the Senate last summer with the surprise resignation of a former Democratic Sen. Phil Puckett.

Political observers expect national groups to spend heavily in state races in Virginia, a swing state likely to have a significant role in the 2016 presidential campaign.

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