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Hillary Clinton files petitions for Virginia presidential primary ballot

Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton will be on Virginia's March 1 presidential primary ballot.  

The Clinton campaign filed its petition signatures with the State Board of Elections Monday, days after Clinton's nearest challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders, qualified for the Super Tuesday ballot.

Marlon Marshall, Clinton's director of state campaigns and political engagement, said in a news release, “Our campaign in Virginia is being built from the ground up, driven by a grassroots coalition that’s excited about her proven record and fired up about her agenda that looks out for their concerns."

The only Democrats to make the ballot so far are Clinton and Sanders, who filed his signatures on Friday. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, whose campaign has languished in both the polls and fundraising, has until December 10 to file the 5,000 signatures necessary to earn a spot on the Democratic primary ballot.

Clinton, the former secretary of state and two-term U.S. senator from New York, has the backing of all of Virginia's statewide elected Democrats, including Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring, as well as Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner.

She has dominated Virginia polls in this election, in contrast with the 2008 Democratic primary, when she faced off against then-Sen. Barack Obama.

Clinton in 2008 focused her efforts on the affluent and fast-growing Northern Virginia suburbs, hoping to cut into Obama's base among those groups. Her effort was unsuccessful and Obama won Virginia handily, with 64 percent versus Clinton's 35 percent.

In this election cycle, Clinton has made numerous trips to the commonwealth, including headlining the state Democratic Party's annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner in June where she portrayed herself as the candidate who is "on the side of everyone who’s ever been knocked down but refused to be knocked out."

Clinton has a mixed standing in head-to-head matchups against Republican frontrunners. In the Nov. 16 University of Mary Washington poll of likely Virginia voters, she claimed 39 percent support compared with 44 percent for retired neurosurgeon and Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson. Clinton fared better against billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump, who leads the GOP field in national polls, with 42 percent versus Trump's 36 percent.