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With Clinton up double digits, is Virginia still a swing state?

With Clinton up double digits, is Virginia still a swing state? (ABC7)
With Clinton up double digits, is Virginia still a swing state? (ABC7)
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While Hillary Clinton plans to spend much of this week at private fundraisers in the Hamptons, Donald Trump is rolling out his biggest ad buy yet.

His campaign plans to spend up to $10 million on commercials airing over the next week or so in nine battleground states. That includes Virginia.

But so far, his camp has only spent about $5 million on TV and radio advertising, outspent big time by Hillary Clinton and groups supporting her, with more than $77 million in ad buys.

Meanwhile, recent polling gives Clinton a double-digit lead in the Commonwealth, and after wins by Obama here in 2008 and 2012, should Virginia still be considered a swing state?

University of Mary Washington political science professor Stephen Farnsworth says, "Yes."

In fact, Farnsworth expects a very competitive 2017 gubernatorial race in Virginia. But this election cycle, he said a unique politician has a unique problem: struggling to connect with suburban Republicans and swing voters.

“The challenge for Trump is to win over those voters who supported Romney but might not be so enthusiastic about Trump this time along,” he said.

Trump's campaign surrogates, such as his daughter-in-law Lara, dispute the polls. The campaign suggests voters secretly support Trump.

“I don't know that you can totally believe all polls. And I'll tell you that people come up to me constantly so excited to tell me they're voting for Donald Trump. But a lot of them don't want to say it loudly,” Lara Trump said during a Women for Trump event in Leesburg on Sunday.

Whether or not the polls are inflated, Democrats expect the numbers will tighten. But the Clinton campaign is feeling good about its infrastructure, with more than 30 field offices across the Commonwealth and hundreds of organizing events each week.

Clinton campaign volunteer Elizabeth Cage said, “We're a long way out yet. It's still another 10 weeks, so complacency is the enemy.”

Professor Farnsworth points out it is very difficult for Trump - or any Republican presidential candidate - to reach 270 electoral votes without Virginia.

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And he said, if the presidential election in Virginia is close, Tim Kaine could be a big help for Clinton. He said running mates have historically generated a two or three percentage point boost in their home states.

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