July 9th, 2008
03:00 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain backer: Obama won't win Virginia

The Obama campaign believes Virginia is in play.

The Obama campaign believes Virginia is in play.

(CNN) - Barack Obama will travel to Virginia tomorrow in hopes of turning the purple state blue, but one of John McCain's top supporters in the state said Wednesday that Obama's chances of winning there this fall are precisely zero.

Rep. Tom Davis, the retiring Republican congressman from northern Virginia, told reporters flatly: "Obama is not going to win in Virginia."

He made the comments on a conference call organized by the Republican National Committee in advance of Obama's trip. Davis called Virginia a fundamentally "right-of-center state" and claimed that McCain's biography and maverick reputation will carry him through a potential backlash against the damaged national GOP brand.

"It's clearly a tough year for the party," Davis said, adding that President Bush's poll numbers "have been in the trash can." Even the congressman's own district, VA-11, may fall into Democratic hands in an open seat election this fall. But, Davis argued, McCain will see "extraordinary crossover support" from Virginia Democrats, especially in the parts of the state with military bases and substantial veteran populations.

The eyes of national Democrats are trained on Davis' backyard, vote-heavy northern Virginia, where Obama will campaign on Thursday. Davis said Obama won't be able to replicate the success of Sen. Jim Webb, who eked out a narrow senate victory in 2006 thanks to Democratic voters in that part of the state. "I do not see Obama opening up those kind of numbers in northern Virginia," he said, because McCain appeals to Democrats in a way that Webb's opponent, the more conservative George Allen, did not.

Davis said that "cultural issues" could hurt Obama in the rural southwestern part of the state, which has also played a crucial role in recent elections, but predicted that increased African-American turnout in the cities should add one or two points to Obama's vote total.

UPDATE: A Virginia Democrat passes along one of Davis' past political forecasts, which turned out to be less than accurate. In July 2006, Davis told the Washington Post that Allen's fundraising advantage in that year's senate race would allow him to swamp his Democratic opponent (and the ultimate winner) - Webb.

"George is going to be able to bury anyone on message," Davis told the newspaper at the time. "To beat that, you have to have to have significant amounts of cash, $10 [million] to $12 million, easily."

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (197 Responses)
  1. Marc PDX

    Ooooooo! That's gonna really torque off the Barakiddies... LOL! Read on dear reader....

    July 9, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  2. not important

    What did Dick Cheney say about the people in West Virginia?

    July 9, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  3. Brandon Hillary PUMA for Mc Cain-Pa

    His margins in northern virginia and the dc suburbs will not be high enough to counter Mc Cains margins in southern and eastern virginia and the rural virginia vote will be overwhelmingly Mc Cain. That being said it will be closer then 2004 but Closer doesnt count when its about the electoral college.

    Obama you just keep dreaming lol The south will remain polarized and will vote against you !!!

    July 9, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  4. The Lady

    Yea and McCain wont win California.

    July 9, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  5. Ula Nejad- Sacramento Ca

    hahaha...neither will he win New Hampshire.

    July 9, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  6. James

    i guess everyone is entitled to his or hers opinion. but this state is going to turn blue in November and it will not be because of winter weather!

    July 9, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  7. PUMA for BARR

    Sorry, we're voting for Barr

    July 9, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  8. @HusseinIsAmerican2

    ....adding that President Bush's poll numbers "have been in the trash can."

    pluhsaeeeeeeeeeee, george bush should be in the trash can for messing up this country.

    July 9, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  9. DrCats

    I think its funny how everyone is predicting who will win what in November. Obama may or may not win Virginia, but it doesnt mean he shouldnt go to the state and try...

    July 9, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  10. Anita from Arizona

    McCain's not a MAVERICK anymore. He's changed, or flip flopped, on core issues, Bush taxes, off shore oil drilling and immigration. McCain moved to the center overnight.

    July 9, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  11. Marc PDX

    "No You Can't!" LOL!

    July 9, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  12. T GUY



    July 9, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  13. Listen Up...

    Riiight! I'll take that bet!!!

    Obama 08

    July 9, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  14. Greg

    WHy do they always believe veterans and the military vote republican. It is just not true! The military is a microcosm of our society and has equally and diverse beliefs as anywhere else. Military members also pay close attention to those that vote against improvements in their life. Obama has already done more for the military in his short tenure than McCain who is a graded as a D- by the service organizations like the DAV and American Legion. As a 27 year veteran and still serving I do not want McCain as my Commander in Chief. The military recognized that he should not be elevated to Flag Rank, and I don't want him in my chain of command.

    July 9, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  15. Jay

    Not Just Virgina, Ha..he will not win over all.

    You people made a BIG mistake voting for him over Hillary!

    Hillary was our only hope.

    July 9, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  16. eric

    No, Obama's chances of winning VA are 100%.

    July 9, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  17. Linda of Atlanta

    Davis is full of it! He's retiring to avoid getting his butt kicked. He doesn't have a clue. Virginians, just like everybody else, are sick of the robbery the Republican Party has perpetrated on America.
    How does he support his claim that military men and women will vote to stay in harm's way as McCain would have them do? Talk is cheap and his is very, very cheap.

    July 9, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  18. Kevin NoVA

    This Northern Virginian will be voting for Obama and so will my family in Hampton Roads, Virginia.

    July 9, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  19. PUMAs = Operation Chaos, Pt 2

    Spin may be all you have Davis!

    Virginians welcome Obamas visit!!!

    July 9, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  20. Don

    That is ab bold and stupid thing to say. They said he could not win over women but see what the polls are saying. I have to admit i am not an Obama fan, but the country seems to be buying his empty promises. Bill Clinton the best president ever! Hillary in 2016.

    July 9, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  21. Rob

    SO? I can say that McCain won't win Missouri, that doesn't make it true. There's real news happening... what about Iraq asking for troop withdraw, what about the candidate's stance on missile defence, or their opinions on the relevance of the G8, l or nuclear power. Instead of the media paparazzi following candidates on bike rides and trying to make news out of an aide saying what he's supposed to say (that the opponent won't win), it would be nice to see a little more focus on policy. Perhaps spend a day per issue comparing and contrasting.

    July 9, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  22. Clinton, no, wait, McCain Supporter

    Virginia is just one of the states that Obama won't win. I say vote Democrat for Congress and local offices if you want to, and vote for McCain as President.

    You'll see that Congress will become a real piece in the balance of power triangle for the first time in years. McCain won't let them do anything stupid, and Dems will have to stand up and be counted if they are to overcome a Presidential veto. No more hiding behind the party label!

    This Democratic Congress is so do-nothing! How can you have any confidence at all that if Dems control the House, the Senate and the Presidency, that America will not come to a complete stop??

    July 9, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  23. Peter E

    It's FAR too early to tell. At this point the polls are perhaps the least reliable way to predict anything. (remember their accuracy during the primaries?) I've seen polls showing Obama beat McCain in North Carolina, while I've also seen polls showing McCain neck to neck with Obama in California. Both of those polls are clearly ridiculous.

    How about people concentrate on issues and make up their own mind instead of letting the media and pollsters tell them what to think?

    July 9, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. adam

    we've got Dibold machines, we're not worried

    July 9, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  25. NoVa Resident

    Davis makes me chuckle. I bet he also thought Tim Kaine had no chance of winning, either ... and that Webb had no chance ... and BEST OF ALL, that Chap Peterson had no chance of winning (for those outside Northern Virginia, Chap beat the tar out of the incumbent republican state senator in my parts: Tom Davis's wife, Jeannemarie Devolites). Guess what? Kaine won, Webb won, Chap won.

    Davis has voted with the President, I believe, around or over 95% of the time, so his judgment in matters other than, perhaps, the cuteness of babies and puppies, is "in the trash can," as well.

    July 9, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
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