The purple hue of the Old Dominion

Originally uploaded by johnvierdsen

While Fogle fixed the mistake he made regarding former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner’s U.S. Senate candidacy, another observation he made was rolling around in Vierdsen’s noggin – “the state Republican Party is incredibly weak.”

That didn’t seem right. The news coming out of Virginia in the past few cycles is that Democrats like Warner, Gov. Tim Kaine and Sen. Jim Webb have been elected. If it wasn’t unusual, it wouldn’t have been news. Indeed, it took former Sen. George Allen’s “macaca” moment, added to the Democratic trend of the ’06 election, to give Webb his razor-thin majority.

Also, you have to consider the particular circumstances of the Warner-Gilmore election. In Virginia, governors are term-limited to one four-year term. If Warner had taken on Gilmore in ’01 in a hypothetical reelection bid, it’s hard to imagine that Warner wouldn’t have won. Gilmore wasn’t popular then, and he’s not popular now – his term was a clusterfuck from beginning to end. Warner, however, brought together both sides of the aisle and got things done, which is why the election is shaping up for the blowout it will be.

The argument can be made that if Rep. Tom Davis had been the GOP nominee, and a Democrat other than Warner had run, the race would look a lot different.

As it is, Republicans hold two of the three state-level statewide elective offices (Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Atty. Gen. Bob McDonnell). The GOP also could have held onto Sen. John Warner’s seat, as said before, if they didn’t have an unpopular guy like Gilmore running against a popular guy like Mark Warner.

In the state legislature, the Democrats have a two-seat advantage in the Senate, while the Republicans have an eight-seat advantage in the House of Delegates.

Of members of the U.S. House, Republicans currently control eight of the 11 districts.

By any measure, that isn’t “weak.”

The fact is, Virginia is a red-tinged purple state that is trending blue. It is, in the most traditional sense, a battleground state, period.


1 Response to “The purple hue of the Old Dominion”

  1. August 15, 2008 at 8:07 am

    I’d agree with your assessment, especially with regards to Gilmore.

    The last week of Allen’s losing re-election bid, Gilmore spent two days in South Carolina, allegedly helping “get out the GOP vote” – as if there was anything a former Virginia governor could do to turn on the GOP voter base in South Carolina.

    In reality the guy was here pursing his now-aborted Presidential ambitions, and the hell with the state of the Virginia GOP.

    Now it appears the party that he wrote off has written him off. I’m not surprised.

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