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. Joe Reg

    If I were Tom Davis a repub, I would not be so sure about McCain chance of winning Virginia.

    The Bush repubs Mcain are going down this year. Obviously Obama would like to carry Virginia in the fall for the Democrats.

    Go Obama go!

    Obama 08 & 12.

    July 9, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  2. Jay

    I live in VA and he will win,VA , all I see are Obama stickers and not McCains'.

    July 9, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  3. americas pulse

    I'm sure most of america dislikes negative political advertisment. It's a shame that the republican party can not figure out what politacle stand to put president elect J McCain on. so they are forced to advertise what they think, president elect B. Obama represents. this is lame and a waste of republican party advertising $$$$,s. Please stick to what J McCain represents that I may be able to pick the right candidate for the most important position our Great Nation has to better America.

    July 9, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. yankeegirl15

    Who died and left this idiot in charge. Drinking the Baldwin ladies recipie?

    July 9, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |

    To all the p.u.m.a. people saying "down with Obama" I have a hypothetical question for you:

    You have to right 2 blogs.

    1st blog is bashing Obama, letting the world know how terrible he is and how you'll never vote for him.

    2nd blog is praising McCain's stance on the issues, how he represents and shares the vision you have for the countries future.

    I'm sure the majority of you would have an easy time writing the first one and a hard time writing the second one. What does that tell you? It's time to be honest with yourselves. Do not vote for McCain just because you are angry. Know yourself.

    July 9, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. Peachy Keen

    I'm so sick and tired of hearing that McCain is a 'hero'. I think in this case, the term is used very loosly.
    He got into the Naval Academy because his Daddy was an Admiral and got him in. At the Academy, he was a screw-up playboy who almost flunked out.
    Once out, he became a pilot. He flew only two missions in Vietnam, screwing up both of them and the second time out, loosing a multimillion dollar airplane and getting caught. The rest of his war experience was as a prisoner. Hey, my cousin flew over 100 missions in Vietnam and completed every one of them. He was my hero.
    McCain then came home, was rejected as a candidate for Admiral and spent the rest of his time chasing anything with a skirt, despite the fact he had a wife and three kids. It was during this time he had a six month affair with the trashy, little rich girl Cindy, again while married and the father of three. His wife was recovering from a serious car accident. He finally dumped his wife and kids and married Cindy's silver spooned father.
    This man's lack of integrity and character is not what I want as my President. His own campaign even admits they have to work hard to keep him away from the craps tables in Vegas, where he goes thru thousands of his wifes hard earned dollars. Come on people, why can't you see this guy for who he is, a gigilo.

    July 9, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  7. fairandstraight

    How does he know?

    These people are banking on race playing a part in the decision of the voters. "Not this time." McCain is the most unappealing candidate for president I have ever seen. There is not enough insane people to vote McCain in office.

    July 9, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. ben

    Once more i will be shouting into the wind, but I feel so strongly about this I will try again1 I am voting for Obama.I am whiteOK but when people like Sharpton run around looking for the most insignificant things to give them a chance to get their faces into the limelight, I wonder ?
    I am talking about something I know very well and this man knows absolutely NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Your article about MEMIN PINQUIN a loveable little black guy loved by generations of Mexican comic book readers saying how Sharpton calls a racist cartoon shows his total ignorance of Mexican artists and is just looking for more headlines. Many comic books printed in Mexico use exagerated features for their characters. Read THE FAMILY BURRON It makes a Mexican family look even worse!!!!!!! Memin Pinquin is a sharp little guy always getting in and out of trouble and with the help of his Mexican boyhood friends gets out of all sorts of childhood problems .Mexicans love him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 9, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  9. DJ, LA, CA

    VA will be very, very close. It is bad luck to guarantee victory Mr. Davis. You just put put a curse on your party's chances, thanks.

    July 9, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. The Patriot

    Barack "the flip flopper" Obama will not win Virginia. Did you hear him regret today about using his daughters to win good press and then saying he regretted doing it?

    Man, this guy will spend 4 years regretting that he withdrew too early from Iraq, didn't talk tough to Iran, he didn't give incentives to companies to stay in the US and regretting that he spent 20 years with Wright.

    Veterans from Virginia know McCain was proponent of the strategy of the surge and its working. Hats off McCain, you're a true leader.

    Its still time. Say No to Obama.

    Substance over Flip-Flop.

    McCain '08

    July 9, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  11. Sandy

    Oh Please! It aint over til it's over...People don't believe the hipe.

    July 9, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  12. Frank

    Like he knows.......LOL

    July 9, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  13. Rich In Seattle

    I wonder if he's right? I mean, how often are the Republicans wrong? Oh wait....

    I think it's cute how the Republicans are trying to convince themselves they have a chance of winning. Ahhhhh...

    July 9, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  14. DNC failed the base

    Obama proved himself to be the same old dirty politician- the professional campaigner who sklllfully manipulates the media and the sheople to advance himself.

    July 9, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  15. ES NYC

    Virginia in terms of victory will fully depend on turnout.
    If the Obama campaign is efficiently turning out the vote, not only the African-American voters but the youth aswell, they will win Virginia

    July 9, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  16. phony baloney Obama

    Maybe he can play the race card and coerce the people into voting for him by his race-baiting manipulations.

    July 9, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  17. Enlightened Voter

    How do you know that Rep. Tom Davis? Did the republicans fix the elections again?

    July 9, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  18. Willy

    We don't speak Spanish in VA. Senior

    July 9, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  19. tim

    Right because this guy's word means something? Well, McCain has zero percent chance of winning of FL in my opinion then.

    July 9, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  20. NickNas

    Are you SERIOUS? A McCain backer said THAT about his rival for Office??? Really?? NO Kidding???

    I cannot act silly enough to make tribute to this silly story that is simply another Anti- Obama Piece and sounding board for the McCain Camp.

    Wow Cnn can't you even TRY not to be less Obvious?

    July 9, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  21. Phantom of the Oprah

    Is any TRUE democrat gullible, naive and blind enough to still trust and vote for this unqualified, race-baiting, lying, pandering, cheating hypocrit?

    July 9, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  22. SHEILA


    July 9, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  23. Saad from NJ

    Ok.... so basically Rep. Tom Davis is calling Virginians stupid people. How dare he does that to his own constituents... LOL!!

    July 9, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  24. ben

    Somebody please tell Sharpton the race war is over! Why is he trying to start it all over? We are going to Elect a black man president of the United States. If He and other loud mouths keep trying to stir trouble,
    He might just help NcCain win!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 9, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  25. DC

    Did anyone expect him to say anything different? Living near Northern Virginia I can tell you that he might want to slow down on making predictions. Mr. Davis must have been spending more time thinking about his retirement versus looking at the transformation that has taken place in his state. One might also be inclined to think this helped speed up his retirement. Virginia isn't the same state he knew when he first took office. Save the predictions for the talking pundits.

    July 9, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
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