Feisty Virginia primaries closely watched for national trend

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia’s highly charged legislative primary elections are being closely watched as a possible political barometer for the coming presidential election year.

Tuesday’s statewide primary contests feature plenty of drama as moderates in both parties take fire from their parties’ outer flanks. The stakes are high: All 140 legislative seats are up for grabs this year and Virginia is the only state whose legislature has a reasonable chance of flipping partisan control.

Republicans currently have narrow majorities in both the House and Senate.

Several Democratic incumbents are being challenged by liberal newcomers. On the GOP side, lingering resentment over last year’s vote to expand Medicaid is helping fuel unusually divisive primary contests.

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