THE HINXTON GROUP—AN international stem cell policy consortium—considers the Commonwealth of Virginia a “permissive compromise” state, one in which legislation is neither especially restrictive nor supportive of human embryonic stem cell research and related endeavors.

Politically, the commonwealth is a swing state of growing importance to national elections and issues. Many of the conservative Dixiecrats of rural Virginia were swayed to the Republican Party by Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan's southern strategy (Virginia was one of the few southern states Nixon carried in 1960), but an increasing number of independent voters have become dissatisfied with the Republicans in the 21st century. Electoral reform has recently elevated the power of the prominent third parties like the Libertarian Party of Virginia, and both northern Virginia (often considered culturally ...

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