Hillary Clinton schedules June stop in Virginia

Washington (CNN)Hillary Clinton will visit Virginia next month in her presidential campaign's first announced stop outside of four key early-primary states.

The Virginia Democratic Party announced that Clinton will speak at its Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on June 26 -- staking an early claim in the historically swing state that could be crucial to the 2016 election's outcome.
Thus far, Clinton has only visited Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. She'll travel to South Carolina on May 27, completing her swing through the first four states to vote in the presidential nominating process.
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    The Virginia event is another sign that Clinton is taking primary challengers seriously -- including former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, who has gained little steam in polls but could clash with Clinton in debates over foreign policy.
    Clinton's campaign already has a staffer in Virginia organizing training programs for volunteers there. It's one of the only states with important elections in 2015, with control of the state Senate up for grabs.
    State Democratic chairwoman Susan Swecker confirmed Clinton's visit on Wednesday, saying the former secretary of state "knows the pivotal role Virginia plays in any presidential election."
    Details on when and where Clinton will appear are coming in the weeks ahead, she said.
    "This event will highlight the work being done by diverse and accomplished Democrats from across the commonwealth," Swecker told CNN. "I am proud to announce that our event will be more open and accessible than ever, with a variety of ways to engage and hear our Democratic message."
    Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign was based in Virginia, and the state's governor, Terry McAuliffe, was Democratic National Committee chairman under President Bill Clinton.