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By Chelyen Davis
This year is a big election year, with the presidential race, a U.S. Senate race in Virginia and congressional seats on the ballot.
President Barack Obama is seeking a second term, challenged by Republican Mitt Romney.
Polls show the two consistently close in Virginia, which is now considered a swing state. Obama won Virginia in 2008, the first Democrat to do so in 40 years, and now the state is seeing a lot more attention--especially in terms of television ad time and candidate visits--than it did in presidential races before 2008.
Virginia's U.S. Senate race is also a marquee race, pitting two former governors against each other in a campaign that has polled virtually neck-and-neck for months now.
Republican George Allen and Democrat Tim Kaine are seeking the seat, which is being vacated by the retirement of one-term Democratic Sen. Jim Webb. Webb won the seat six years ago from Allen.
All members of the House of Representatives are up for election this year.
The Fredericksburg area is covered by two congressional districts; the 7th, which covers areas to the west of Fredericksburg, and the 1st, which lies mostly to the north and east of Fredericksburg.
The 7th is represented by House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, a Republican from Henrico County. Cantor, a powerful and well-funded politician, is being challenged by Wayne Powell, also of the Richmond area.
In the 1st, Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Montross, is being challenged by Democrat Adam Cook.
Both Cook and Powell are attorneys who are making their first foray into politics after military careers.
ON THE BALLOT
PRESIDENT President Barack Obama, D
Mitt Romney, R
Former Gov. Tim Kaine, D
Former Gov. George Allen, R
Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Montross, incumbent
Adam Cook, D, challenger
Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Henrico, incumbent
Wayne Powell, D, challenger