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US Senate race in Virginia shaping up as national battleground

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"They both realize that the national overlay on this election has an impact that may go far beyond what each of them can do in their campaigns," says Bob Holsworth, a Richmond-based consultant who has worked with Virginia governors of both parties.

Consider: Of the 10 US Senate races considered to be the most competitive, only one other contest – Nevada – is in a swing state. Both campaigns and independent analysts believe that is leading, already, to a massive infusion of outside money and attention unmatched in the commonwealth's recent political history.

Players such as Crossroads GPS, the Chamber of Commerce, and conservative American Energy Alliance have already committed millions of dollars to anti-Kaine or anti-Obama advertising in Virginia. That’s been countered by smaller spending by Democratic "super PAC" Priorities USA and advertisements from President Obama’s campaign. The Republican Senate Campaign Committee already staked out $5.5 million in advertising space for the fall – its largest reservation in any state to date.

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