At midway point, McAuliffe begins new year with familiar constraints (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Richmond Times-Dispatch

With the state budget in fairly good condition — a point McAuliffe makes frequently while pointing out that a sizable deficit became a record $553 million surplus on his watch — some believe the presidential election could push things in a more combative direction.

Stephen Farnsworth, a political analyst and professor at the University of Mary Washington, said the parties could look to rally their troops by pushing hot-button issues and demonizing one another.

“It’s a temptation that will be hard for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to avoid,” Farnsworth said.

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