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. Hispanic For McCain

    Once again Liberal Dem thinks that OBAMA will win Virginia I don't think so!!! Why is that everyone is stating that OBAMA will pick up Virginia especially if the Black votes come to the Dem side. You don't think that white will come out for McCain what only blacks are the only ones coming out how stupid the media is. Like I said before the latinos will vote for McCain and these polls are not true!!!! they are polling what the Dem Liberals want and not the total pic of the Latinos votes. Trust me Latinos don't trust OBAMA and that is why McCain will pick up tons of latinos votes.

    Hispanic for McCain!!!!

    July 9, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  2. Samilton

    We'll see!

    July 9, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  3. case

    Zero???, gotta be kidding me.. Obama has great chances in VA. This was bluster from the GOP hoping the public and the media will believe it. The state has a Dem gov. Dem led state senate and soon to be 2 dem senators. If Obama wins Northern VA, and gets great turnout in Richmond and Tidewater, he wins VA just like his supporter and possible VP Tim Kaine.

    July 9, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  4. Just Say Nobama

    We can only hope!

    July 9, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  5. Robert in Seattle

    I wonder who owns the voting machines in VA?

    The only way to ensure with 100% accuracy that a candidate will or won't win is to fix the results.

    July 9, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  6. Citizens For America First






    July 9, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  7. Rob

    This wont be the only state. after distorting McCain speaches and all the people here leaving sooo many stupid comments about McCain that I decided last week to vote for McCain

    All I can say is:

    NC for McCain!!!!

    Rob from NC

    July 9, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  8. Johnny Mac is bad cheese gone worse

    So, is Mr. Davis forgetting about the counties previously won by George Bush where Mr. Obama currently leads Mr. McCain or would that be more ingorance to the facts not worth reporting because then there would be no "friction" to peddle?

    July 9, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  9. texas DEM

    If Obama wants to win...He MUST pick:


    July 9, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  10. THE TRUTH IS!!!!!

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

    OH YES HE CAN!!!

    July 9, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  11. Ashley

    How can anyone claim that Barack Obama will lose Virginia when the Polls currently show the state Evenly Divided.

    McCain Campaign will Fail from these Elitist Comments

    Obama/Biden '08

    July 9, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  12. Marc PDX

    If Virginia doesn't go for Obama in the general election all the Barakiddies will be hurling R-Bombs ("racist!") at Virginians. Just me prediction...

    NObama N'08

    July 9, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  13. SDunn

    But how when McCain didn't even support Webb's GI bill. I think when people look at all of McCain's flip flops 49 plus and counting, they will see that this man is not a maverick, but a panderer and can not be trusted. He said today that Social Security is a disgrace! Why isn't the media reporting his flip flops and his lies????

    July 9, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  14. Malcom Little

    The McCain of 2000 might have been able to win in Virginia but not the retooled version of 2008.

    Senator Obama will beat McCain because he has sold out his maverick persona that people once respected.

    July 9, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  15. Jared

    How is this a story? Democrats will say he will win, Republicans will say he won't. I don't see how this is revealing anything important to the reader.

    July 9, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  16. NotFallingInLine.org

    Not without Jim Webb he won't! Nor will he win Ohio without Strickland or Pennsylvania without Rendell.

    What do Senator Webb, Governor Strickland and Governor Rendell all have in common? They've all said very publicly that they have zero interest in being the running-mate of Barack Obama, and thus they are apparently committed to ensuring that Obama does not win the presidency.

    Sorry, Barack. Maybe you should have done some real work and built a record of accomplishments of importance rather than make a run for the presidency prematurely.

    July 9, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  17. Mb

    I am from Virginia. I wuoldn't be so sure that he won't.

    July 9, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  18. Bendo

    what else would you expect a repub to say? BO has a good chance of taking Virgina, especially if he selects Gov. Tom Keene as VP, the repubs know JM is a weak candidate along the same lines as BoB "where's the outrage" Dole, so repubs will say JM is going to win, but in reality, all the litature, polls, history points to a Obama presidency, thats IF the independants dont swing to JM at the last minute, which still might happen, so basically its Obama to lose, heck he's even ahead in Montana!

    July 9, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  19. kijana carter

    Of course, it's the McCain campaign slogan:


    That should win you thugs a lot of votes........

    July 9, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  20. bridgette

    I think the Republicans are in a state of denial. He won Virginia and he won it big. He got more votes that all of the Republicans that were still running put together. I don't think they realize how most people feel about them. They are definately out of touch with the average American.

    July 9, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  21. Biff, hussein Biffington


    um... this is a republican... the the heck is he SUPPOSED to say??

    ""cultural issues""..... (wink-wink)... funny

    p.s. .... MAVERICK MY ARSE!

    July 9, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  22. Diane

    Oh, please. Obama has Virginia hands down. I'm a native Virginian from Southeastern, VA, and he has the Tidewater area sewn up. Northern, VA is definitely for Obama, so who has this McCain backer been listening to. Certainly none of my friends in Charlottsville or Roanoke. Interesting. Now, there is one small group. (hmmm)

    We all want change, and none of the same. Every time we buy gas, lose a job, lose a home, or attend a funeral for a fallen soldier we are reminded to vote Democratic. No more "old" guard and no more grand "old" party. We have had it!

    July 9, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  23. John

    There's a list of about 40 other states Obama won't win too.

    July 9, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  24. saga4obama

    boy is he wrong...i have a lot of family in VA...and they are working hard for the Obama campaign and country...
    JOHN MCCAIN? dirty dirty dude...killing Iranians is funny? WWIII
    who do you McCain supporters think McCain is running for? YOU? no really…do you think John BILLION HEIR McCain is thinking anything about you? well i guess you also still believe we are in Iraq for WMD….WAKE UP!!!
    here is your John McCain: agresivly going after the endorcment of Pastor Parsley, a man who makes Dr. Rev Wright look like Gandhi,
    top advisers; Wayne Berman-Chevron, Frank Donatelli-EXXON, Rebeccaa Anderson-SUNCO, Charlie Black-OCCIDENTAL PET.CORP, Nancy Pfotenhauer-KOCH IND., Randy Scheunemann-AMCO. Gramm- the ENRON LOOPHOLE…all big oil.
    "He continues his aggressive support for the Iraq War, which costs the U.S. taxpayer $12 billion a month, even though only 34% of Americans support the war. 4,538 Americans have died in the war. 29,780 have been wounded. 300,000 soldiers are suffering from depression" -Charlotte Iserbyt former Senior Adviser for the Reagan Administration.
    hello- he is not for America JOHN MCCAIN…who finished 894th out of 899 at the Naval Academy and lost five jets! is Keeping the power in the hands of the wealthy only…examples?McCain will follow in the footsteps of DICK Chaney and Halliburton..how many of your “drafted” kids do you want killed in Iran?

    July 9, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  25. Sebastian

    Ft Belvior ... i.e. the Army won't support McCain ... the US Army is being fatigued by the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and if McCain has his way ... Iraq. The Army doesn't mind doing it's job but not when the war is sold under false pretenses.

    Those in Norfolk ... in the Navy might ... I'm not sure how fatigued the Navy in in this war .... probably not as much as the Marines and the Army.

    July 9, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
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