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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) - Fewer people are buying guns in Virginia.

The Daily Press reports gun sellers have conducted 10 percent fewer background checks so far in 2017 compared to the same time period last year.

Experts say the decline follows a Republican being elected to the White House opposed to a Democrat. Johns Hopkins public health professor Cassandra Crifasi said fears have fallen over whether gun regulations will increase.

Virginia Republican Website

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Republican Party of Virginia has decided to pick its candidate for the U.S. Senate next year in a primary contest rather than at a convention.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that party leaders voted 45 to 35 Saturday for a primary.

Conventions are generally favored by the party's more activist wing, while more establishment Republicans typically prefer primaries.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia GOP House caucus has named its leadership team in an important election year.

The Republicans officially named House Majority Leader Kirk Cox as speaker designee, the de facto replacement for retiring Speaker William J. Howell. Cox would be named speaker in January if Republicans hold on to a majority.

Virginia GOP logo

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Republicans looking to be the state's next governor are gearing up for their first debate.

Gubernatorial candidates and other statewide candidates are scheduled to appear Saturday afternoon in Charlottesville at the Paramount Theater.

The hotly contested gubernatorial contest has four candidates. They include former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie and Corey Stewart, a one-time Virginia campaign chairman of President Donald Trump.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Republicans are trying to block Gov. Terry McAuliffe's latest effort to restore voting rights to thousands of felons who've completed their sentences.

Top Republican lawmakers say in a contempt motion filed Wednesday that McAuliffe is violating the Virginia Supreme Court's order that he restore the rights on a case-by-case basis.

The court in July invalidated McAuliffe's sweeping executive order to restore the rights of more than 200,000 felons who completed their sentences.

campaign website

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam now has the official backing of the Democratic Party's top state officials for his 2017 gubernatorial bid.

Northam's campaign said Saturday that Gov. Terry McAuliffe, U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner and Attorney General Mark Herring have all endorsed the lieutenant governor.

Herring announced last year he would run for re-election and not pursue the Executive Mansion.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - A unanimous Supreme Court has dismissed a Republican appeal over congressional districts in Virginia.
 
The justices on Monday left in place a decision by a lower court that said Virginia illegally packed black voters into one district to make adjacent districts safer for Republican incumbents.
 
Republican members of Congress wanted the court to reinstate the districting map. But the justices ruled that the elected officials did not have the right to challenge the court ruling.
 

State Senate Website

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Republican state Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel says she's running to become Virginia's next lieutenant governor.

Vogel told The Richmond Times-Dispatch that running for the office in 2017 is "awesome opportunity." She says the Republican party needs to get its "mojo back" and that she would bring a fresh perspective as a working mother.

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Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton swept to victory in the Virginia presidential primary yesterday.

Trump edged out his rivals with 34% of the vote to Senator Marco Rubio who came in with 31%.

Senator Ted Cruz picked up 16%.

On the Democratic side Clinton won an overwhelming victory with 63% of the vote to Senator Bernie Sanders who received 35%.

Elections officials said that turnout in Virginia's Republican presidential primary was substantially higher than it was in 2008, the last primary in which no incumbents were running.

presidential campaign website

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) - Republican presidential candidate John Kasich (KAY'-sihk) is planning a swing through Virginia ahead of the state's March 1 primary.

Kasich will hold a town hall at George Mason University in Fairfax at 10 a.m. Monday. The Ohio governor will then head to Charlottesville, where he'll host a 2 p.m. event at the Miller Center.

Kasich will end the day in Richmond with a town hall at 6:30 p.m. at Virginia Commonwealth University.

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