WASHINGTON (CNN) - Presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama will kick off his general election campaign in the purple state of Virginia on Thursday – and two of the state’s most prominent Democrats, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, will be along for the ride.
Another high-profile Virginia Democrat, Sen. Jim Webb, is remaining mum on whether he will appear with Obama tomorrow, even though the newly minted nominee has scheduled an event in rural southwest Virginia, his home turf. Webb has yet to endorse a candidate.
Warner, the popular former governor who is now the frontrunner for the Senate seat left vacant by retiring Sen. John Warner, will campaign with Obama tomorrow in the city of Bristol, just over the Tennessee border. Warner was elected governor of Virginia in 2001 partly because he worked to win over rural voters in the southwestern part of the state, the very place Obama will campaign tomorrow.
Obama won the state’s primary handily on February 12, but he lost overwhelmingly to Hillary Clinton in the state’s rural Ninth Congressional District by 33 points, the first hints of a pattern of vulnerability among white, working-class voters that continued to nag him throughout later primary states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Gov. Kaine will appear briefly with Obama tomorrow evening at a rally in Manassas. The event will take place at Nissan Pavilion, a 25,000-seat concert venue in Manassas that in recent weeks has hosted acts like Radiohead and Kanye West.
Kaine has been one of Obama’s most ardent backers, and was one of the first prominent Democratic leaders to endorse the Illinois senator’s presidential bid in 2007.