GOP state senator to retire; Democrats see chance to regain Senate majority in 2016

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Powhatan Republican state Sen. John Watkins will not seek another term after his term expires in 2016. The longtime senator said Tuesday that he plans to spend more time with his family. Watkins is a moderate Republican who has clashed with his party’s conservative wing over issues like transportation spending and Medicaid. As chairman of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee, Watkins had considerable sway in the Senate. He represents a Richmond area swing district that has favored Democratic candidates in recent statewide elections. Democrats say they will spend heavily to compete in during the 2015 election.

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