Virginia voting on US House races with national implications

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginians were voting Tuesday in races that could help determine political control of Congress.

The vote comes after months of bare-knuckled campaigning as Republicans try to hold onto U.S. House seats in closely watched races. Democrats have focused on flipping four GOP-held seats, but have run aggressive campaigns in all seven districts currently held by Republicans, even in deep-red areas.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine is looking to win re-election against Republican challenger Corey Stewart. Kaine is a former governor and vice presidential candidate who is heavily favored to win. Stewart is a conservative provocateur who has tried to emulate President Donald Trump's in-your-face political style.

Closely watched House races include the 2nd Congressional District in Hampton Roads, where former Navy SEAL and freshman GOP U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor is running against Democrat Elaine Luria, who spent 20 years on active duty in the Navy.

Richmond-area Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Brat, who made history by upsetting former U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor four years ago, is another top target for Democrats. He's facing off against former CIA operative and political newcomer Abigail Spanberger.

Voter Richard Milner said he picked Taylor and Stewart, and credits Trump and Republicans in Congress for the booming economy. The 66-year-old who inspects private boats for insurance companies along Virginia's coast said business for him has been "rocking and rolling."

"If we had a Democrat in there, they would be totally against whatever (Trump) wanted to do, which is more of a roadblock for the government getting things done," said Milner, who lives in Norfolk.

Ross Noe, 55, a financial underwriter from Goochland, said he voted for Kaine and Spanberger as a way of sending a message of discontent with how Trump is governing.

"I am just very afraid of some of the decisions being made in Washington," said Noe.

Another competitive race is the 10th Congressional District in northern Virginia, where two-term GOP U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock is considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents in Congress. Hillary Clinton won the district by 10 percentage points in 2016. Comstock is facing state Sen. Jennifer Wexton, a former prosecutor.

In central Virginia's open 5th District, Republican Denver Riggleman, a distillery owner and Air Force veteran, is running against Democrat Leslie Cockburn, a former reporter for "60 Minutes." Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Garrett is leaving his seat to seek treatment for alcoholism.

There's also a special election in a Roanoke-area state House seat that will determine if Republicans can hold to their narrow majority in the Virginia House of Delegates.

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Finley reported from Norfolk, Virginia. Associated Press write Denise Lavoie contributed from Goochland, Virginia.

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For AP's complete coverage of the U.S. midterm elections: http://apne.ws/APPolitics

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