RICHMOND, Va. (CBSDC/AP) — Virginia’s biggest, most expensive political season with unprecedented attention from presidential candidates is drawing long lines of voters to polling places across the state.
President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are in a toss-up race for the 13 electoral votes that both parties consider vital for victory. Polls are open in Virginia from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Four years ago, Obama became the first Democrat in 44 years to win Virginia in a presidential race. The president had a lead in polling and appeared headed for a repeat in Virginia until Romney pulled within the statistical margin of error in October, after Obama’s poor performance in the first presidential debate.
In another tight race, two former governors, Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican George Allen, are battling for the seat Democratic Sen. Jim Webb is vacating. The outcome could determine whether Democrats keep their narrow U.S. Senate majority.
The Senate race has attracted about $53 million in spending by outside, independent organizations, many of which do not have to disclose their wealthy donors. That’s the largest amount for any Senate contest. About 60 percent of that money was spent either in opposition to Kaine or support of Allen.
All 11 of the state’s congressmen — eight Republicans, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and three Democrats — face challengers to their re-election, most of them little-known newcomers.
Voters also must decide on a constitutional amendment to limit the government taking of private property for economic development needs. Virginia’s legislature outlawed the practice in 2007, leading opponents to say the amendment is not needed.
State Board of Elections figures show absentee voting is up slightly over 2008.
In the campaign’s final week, both candidates and their A-list surrogates have blanketed Virginia, which for 40 years was a reliably Republican afterthought in presidential politics.
Romney made six stops in Virginia in the past week, about the same number as his running mate, Paul Ryan.
Obama headlined one late-night rally Saturday with more than 25,000 people at an outdoor amphitheater in northern Virginia with former President Bill Clinton and rocker Dave Matthews. Vice President Joe Biden spent Sunday and Monday crisscrossing Virginia, making four stops, one of them with musician John Mellencamp.
View the 2012 Voting Guide to find out where you should go to vote, polling hours and a look at the issues on the ballot.
All-News 99.1 WNEW will have comprehensive live coverage of the election results tonight on-air and online at CBSDC.com.
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