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Virginia Democrats can flip the state Senate. That’s why the NRA is spending big money to stop them

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In less than a month, citizens will decide the fate of gubernatorial and legislative elections in five states: Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, New Jersey, and Virginia. These states have off-year elections, and the deadline to register to vote ranges from immediately to next week. All are critical elections, but in none of these states are the stakes higher than in Virginia. 

Virginia has a Democratic governor who will serve until 2021, but the GOP holds the slimmest majority in the both the House of Delegates and the state Senate. When I say slim, I mean the Dems are just one person shy of winning the majority in each chamber. The candidates REALLY need everyone’s support—not just because the focus has largely been on the top-tier races, but because the GOP is once again turning to Russia for help.

A Senate report released last week based on private interviews and new emails showed that the NRA acted as a “foreign asset” for Russia. The 18-month probe by the Senate Finance Committee revealed that the NRA underwrote political access for Russian nationals Maria Butina and Alexander Torshin, despite their ties to the Kremlin. The Republicans on the FEC blocked all investigations on the NRA’s financial ties to Russia.

Coincidentally, the NRA ”just made their largest contribution ever” to a political fund, which happens to be Virginia House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert’s cleverly-named Majority Leader PAC. The Republican Party happily took the $200,000, which will be distributed among Republican candidates—in no small part because they are terrified of Virginia having fair districts drawn next cycle.

I’ve focused before on several House of Delegates races, like this one starring a GOP candidate who forgot to turn his paperwork in on time. But to avoid an extremely long piece, I’ve decided to focus on the Virginia state Senate. Virginia has a bipartisan resource called the Virginia Public Access Project, which offers a rundown of all races in the state, if you want to learn about the other chamber. Click here for the House of Delegate races

Back to the state Senate: There are eight competitive races in that chamber, and I’ll focus on each in order of likelihood to flip.

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