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. Dr.Mimi De La Cruz



    July 9, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  2. barackobama4prez

    Even if we don't win VA, the GOP campaign will be BROKE by the end of Oct. trying to make sure it doesn't happen. So it's a win/win. Plus, there's lots of local races that will be by Dems this year in VA. But I'm keeping HOPE alive. come 11/4/08 I am looking for Barack to take VA by 4 points.

    July 9, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  3. CD

    David you must be dreaming! Obama already got Virginia in the bag' the republicans can RUN but cannot HIDE from OBAMA. I pity McCain because he is going to retire from politics after this campaign; the liberal lefts have dozens of Carl Rove and ADS that will make the swiftboaters look like child's play when they are done. The left want some blood and they are going to get it, I heard the democrats even have ADS on swiftboaters as per their private lives. This election is going to be messy and will send Americans avoiding the TV may God help us all.

    July 9, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  4. Susan from Scotts Valley, CA

    "Cultural issues" is that code for racism? I'm hoping the voters in rural Virginia have evolved past that and will vote on the person that will make the best president. If they think that based on his policies that's McCain, then I can respect that.

    July 9, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  5. Uh yeah,right

    Like a bitter retiring GOP congressman has his pulse on the state. He is blowing smoke.
    The Dems have been making huge inroads in VA (think Jim Webb,Tim Kaine, WArner). I beg to differ with it leaning red. Its leaning blue no matter how they spin it.

    3 most Recent polls in VA:

    Zogby: Obama 44, McCAin 39
    SUrvey USA: Obama 49, McCAin 47
    PPD: Obama 47, McCAin 45

    Its leaning Obama, not McCAin, but hey...thanks for playing!

    Dont buy the GOP BS, they are desperate

    July 9, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  6. Jamie

    The title of this article is ridiculous. Common sense?

    July 9, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  7. Andy

    Obama, if lucky will win the states Democrats normally win. However, Pennsylvania and Ohio, with many white, blue collar workers wouldn't vote for him over Hillary so why would they vote for him over McCain?

    Obama's best chance is taking the most popular Democrat in Ohio as a running mate because without Ohio Obama will not win the election.

    July 9, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  8. Deb

    Cultural issues? You mean "good ole boys" who refuse to vote for a person of color?

    Representative Davis, you should be ashamed of yourself.

    July 9, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  9. Ted

    Oh, really?
    Look at support, polls, and funding. Obama will probably win VA.

    July 9, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  10. Pat in Cali

    As long as he wins for America!

    July 9, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  11. vw

    Hope so as well.

    Senator John MacCain can save USA.

    July 9, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  12. Noah

    Dream on Davis

    July 9, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  13. Roger in the Virginia Valley

    I dont even know Tom Davis. Virginia went Democratic in the last Gubernatorial and Senate Elections. Obama won Virginia by more than double McCain's votes in the primary. Unless the Republicans were totally not interested in turning out with just one candidate, I dont see McCain winning. Virginia has numerous, Naval, Marine, Army and AF posts and I think those families and spouses want their relatives back home. As to McCain appealing to Democrats, I just dont see that happening.

    July 9, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  14. Obama Supporter from FL

    We'll see about that... Right now Obama and McCain are tied in VA – so Obama's got a decent shot.

    July 9, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  15. DD, New York

    I have a question: Since Obama is the "presumptive" nomineeā€¦.let's say in the event a something really wild, unforeseen, strange thing happens and Obama does not win the nomination ( however remote that possibility may be), would Hillary then get the nomination? (McCain is a presumptive nominee, too, so could the same happen to him?) Should I be praying to St. Jude, The Patron Saint of Hopeless Cases????

    July 9, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  16. No McCain!

    Yeah... keep dreaming.

    Obama '08

    July 9, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  17. Mike, FL

    Hmm, this is from the same Republican congressman who decided not to run for relection because he was trailling the Dem candidate in the poll.

    July 9, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  18. rexx

    Obama will never win Virgina. Only the crazy Left wing zombies believe that. In fact Obama will NOT win one state in the southeastern US. NONE. He is a Left wing radical. Welcome to President McCain.

    July 9, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  19. Elizabeth

    How in the world can people vote for McCain????????????????

    July 9, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |

    Obama won't win the presidency period. He is UNELECTABLE.

    July 9, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  21. USAF Staff Sergeant

    Rep. Tom Davis says Obama won't win Virginia. Well we might as well not hold the election there, since Tom Davis declares Obama won't win there. What a clown.

    July 9, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  22. WeBoDave

    Representative Davis himself says Senator Obama can pick up one or two points in urban Virginia so his statement that Senator "McCain will see "extraordinary crossover support" from Virginia Democrats, especially in the parts of the state with military bases and substantial veteran populations" seems like an opportunity for Senator Obama.

    Republicans rely on military/veteran voters as their base in Virginia Presidential elections regardless of their party affilliation and I think Democrats and Obama will pry away some of the young members of this group. Iraq's violence may be decreasing but Afghanistan's is not so why shouldn't a soldier or veteran question whether their military brethren should be sent back to Iraq?

    The secret to winning Virginia this year is an energized electorate and Democrats seem more energized than Republicans.

    July 9, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  23. Stacy from beautiful Loudoun County Virginia

    I live in Northern Virginia and Northern Virginia is going Obama...and if you know anything about Virginia politics these days...win NOVA...win the state.

    July 9, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  24. C!


    Get real old man...

    OBAMA `08

    July 9, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  25. alix oge

    I think Barack can win. He has to stick with his original message of reducing the influence of lobbyist in washington, a common sense foreign policy approach, better care for veterans and unity for the American people

    July 9, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
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