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Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and South Carolina Gov. Nikki R. Haley campaign at the Hall at Senate's End in Columbia, S.C., on Wednesday. Mr. Romney took aim at President Obama on the stump, saying he is in "over his head." (Associated Press)

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20120111-202016-pic-359065617.jpg

Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling gavels the start of the Senate's annual session at the Capitol in Richmond. He later cast a disputed tiebreaking vote on party control of legislative committees.

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Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, is joined by Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (left) and Attorney General, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II during a news conference Tuesday with House and Senate Republicans at the Capitol in Richmond. The 2012 session of the Virginia General Assembly begins Wednesday with the Senate split 20-20 by political parties. (Associated Press)

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20111229-201933-pic-99779385.jpg

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, here with state Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., supports raising the "flush tax" and making it more progressive. (T.J. Kirkpatrick/The Washington Times)

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Then-Minnesota state Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch was forced out of the post last week amid rumors of an “inappropriate relationship” with a Senate staffer. (Associated Press)

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APTOPIX Obama Taxes_Lea.jpg

** FILE ** President Obama, speaking at a briefing at the White House on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011, said a "faction" of House Republicans is refusing to vote on a Senate bill that would extend a payroll-tax cut for two months. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

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Congress_Star.jpg

In this Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011, photo provided by NBC News, Speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, appears on NBC's "Meet the Press" in Washington. House Republicans said Sunday they oppose a bipartisan, Senate-approved bill that extends a payroll tax cut and jobless benefits for just two months and said congressional bargainers need to write a new version lasting a longer time. "It's pretty clear I and our members oppose the Senate bill," Boehner said, adding, "I believe two months is just kicking the can down the road." (AP Photo, NBC News, William B. Plowman)

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SENATE2.jpg

Sen. Joe Manchin III (left), West Virginia Democrat, and Sen. Mark Kirk, Illinois Republican, comment as the Senate approves legislation that extends Social Security payroll tax cuts for two months, at the Capitol in Washington on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III tells the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday he is concerned about the defense spending bill's effect on the bureau's ability to investigate terrorism, saying that while the bill had been modified for the better, it "lacks clarity as to what happens at the time of arrest." The bill has been passed by the House and awaits Senate action Thursday. (Associated Press)

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CHALLENGE: "The Senate can take up our bill and amend it, or it can pass its own bill. But the Democrats who run the Senate can't continue to shirk their responsibility to govern," says House Speaker John A. Boehner. (Associated Press)

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CALM BEFORE THE STORM: Tim Kaine (right) and George Allen greet each other in the hallway before beginning the first debate of the 2012 Senate campaign at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond on Wednesday. Both of the Senate candidates are former Virginia governors. Issues at the 90-minute debate included "personhood" and budgets. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

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Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich arrives by car with his wife, Patti, at the federal building in Chicago on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011, for his sentencing hearing on 18 corruption counts, including trying to auction off President Obama's old Senate seat. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

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Republican Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling's profile will rise in the next General Assembly with his role as tiebreaker in the evenly divided state Senate. (Drew Angerer/The Washington Times)

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Supreme Court Health _Live.jpg

** FILE ** President Obama signs the health care bill at the White House in Washington on March 23, 2010, flanked by smiling supporters from the House and Senate as well as Victoria Reggie Kennedy (behind Mr. Obama's right shoulder), widow of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who was a champion of the legislation. (Associated Press)

VaRaces

VaRaces

10 TO WATCH: Republicans need a net gain of two seats to win an effective majority in the Virginia state Senate. These 10 races are key to both parties' legislative ambitions.

VaPredict

VaPredict

PREDICTIONS: Virginia politicians, observers and analysts predict the final breakdown of the 40-seat Virginia state Senate.

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Charter-school executive Jerry Lewis is challenging Arizona state Senate President Russell Pearce in a Nov. 8 recall election. Both men are Mormon Republicans competing in a GOP district dominated by conservative Mormons. (Associated Press)

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Senate Jobs Bill_Reps.jpg

Sen. Ben Nelson, Nebraska Democrat, arrives Tuesday at the Capitol for the vote on President Obama's jobs bill, which failed in the Democrat-controlled Senate. Nelson said he would not support the president on the bill. (Associated Press)

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Shawn Mitchell, a Democratic candidate for Virginia state Senate in Loudoun County, disagrees with his GOP rival on the role of the federal government in health care. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)