The Virginia Republican Party is warning McCain that Virginia, a state which has voted Republican since 1964, could potentially slip into the blue column this year based on polls which are well within the margin of error.
Report from Politico:
Virginia Republicans are warning that John McCain’s prospects for winning a state that has been in the GOP column in every presidential election since 1964 could be in jeopardy. With Barack Obama treating the Old Dominion like a battleground state and reliable polls showing a margin-of-error race there, some are cautioning that McCain is making a critical mistake by allowing the Democratic nominee to outpace him in terms of visits and resources committed.
The two best indicators of which states the campaigns are serious about – time and money – tell the story.
Since wrapping up the Democratic nomination in June, Obama, his wife, Michelle, and his running mate Joe Biden have visited the commonwealth a combined 12 times. The candidate himself was in the Tidewater city of Newport News Saturday.
Obama is also plowing millions into Virginia, blanketing the airwaves with TV and radio ads, filling up mailboxes with leaflets and, along with the state party, operating 49 campaign offices.
Together, McCain and his running mate, Sarah Palin, have held just one campaign event in Virginia. And the campaign has taken its ads off the pricey Washington, D.C. network affiliates that reach into the entire swath of the Northern Virginia, the commonwealth’s most populous region.
“I think (McCain) needs to get here,” said Rep. Tom Davis, a longtime member of Congress who represents a Northern Virginia district. “I think they’ve got to pay more attention.”
Davis predicted McCain would ultimately take Virginia because he has appeal to the center-right independents that usually swing statewide races and because Obama is less moderate than such successful Democratic figures as former Gov. Mark Warner and Sen. James Webb.
“Obama is not a Virginia Democrat,” Davis said.
Relying on the “Obama is not a Virginia Democrat” strategy may not be enough considering the RealClearPolitics average of Virginia polls show Obama leading by 2.9%, still within the margin of error but too far on the blue side to make the McCain campaign comfortable. McCain has led most of the time in Virginia, however, it’s been a give and take back and forth.
If Virginia were to swing blue, McCain would have a difficult time. That being said, the state is traditionally red and has been since 1964 so we’ll see what happens as I’m betting it will still break red, if only a percent or two. Still though, to have the state party warning McCain about the issue is meaningful and newsworthy.