Trump effect the top question in Virginia's key elections

FILE - In this Jan. 10, 2018, file photo, then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe addresses a joint session in the House chambers at the Capitol in Richmon

FILE - In this Jan. 10, 2018, file photo, then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe addresses a joint session in the House chambers at the Capitol in Richmon

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — One key question hovers over this year's closely watched Virginia legislative elections: Has the Trump effect that helped Democrats two years ago worn off?

Voters unhappy with the Republican president, particularly in suburban areas, powered historic Democratic gains in 2017.

Republicans are cautiously optimistic the president will have less of an impact on voters this year. But Democrats say Trump remains deeply unpopular, and there are clear signs they have the advantage going into Election Day.

Yet the Democrats have their own headaches, after a series of political scandals.

Virginia's legislative elections are high stakes. Just four states are having elections this year and Virginia is the only one where Democrats have a chance of flipping control of the statehouse. Republicans currently have a majority in both chambers.