- Associated Press - Monday, February 29, 2016

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - After a last-minute blitz of campaign rallies and political advertising, Virginians are set to head to the polls Tuesday to help pick the Republican and Democratic nominees for president.

Virginia is one of a dozen Super Tuesday contests, whose outcomes could go a long way in determining each party’s eventual winner.

The limited polling available in Virginia shows Donald Trump ahead in the Republican primary and Hillary Clinton leading in the Democratic race.

Republicans will vote in 11 states, with 595 delegates at stake. In Virginia, there are 49 GOP delegates up for grabs Tuesday.

Democrats will vote in 11 states and American Samoa, with 865 delegates up for grabs. Virginia has 95 delegates available on primary day.

Delegates for both parties will be awarded proportionally.

Whoever wins Virginia is also likely to bolster their case that they can do well in the general election, as the Old Dominion has a diverse electorate and is expected to be a pivotal swing state.

“Virginia is America in miniature,” said Stephen Farnsworth, a political science professor at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg. “A win here means more than a win in a lot of other states.”

Virtually every candidate in both parties made at least one stop in Virginia in the run-up to the primary.

Republican Marco Rubio held a four-stop tour around the state on Sunday, and has recently consolidated a large amount of the state GOP establishment’s support.

Trump was at Virginia Beach’s Regent University last week and will hold a rally Monday evening at Radford University in southwest Virginia, home to a large number of blue-collar voters more likely to support him.

Clinton is scheduled to speak Monday in northern Virginia, home to wealthier, more liberal voters, and in Hampton Roads, which has a high concentration of African-American voters.

The Clinton campaign has focused on courting black voters in Virginia, lining up support from most African-American state lawmakers. And Gov. Terry McAuliffe is a longtime family friend and confidante.

The Sanders campaign has shown momentum in Virginia. A rally he held in Norfolk drew thousands.

Rubio and a super PAC supporting him have recently purchased more than $400,000 of airtime in Virginia’s four biggest TV markets, according to the nonprofit Virginia Public Access Project. Clinton’s campaign has bought more than $360,000.

Trump has made small TV ad buys around the state. A super PAC devoted to attacking Trump announced Friday that it is running radio ads attacking him in parts of central Virginia.

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