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. P.U.M.A- true democrat for fair campains

    All the TRUE democrats- those who hold to the party ideals of freedom, equality, justice and fair campaigning SEE this demagogue for the deceitful, self-impressed, liar that he is.

    The rest of the sheople...I mean people.... they have had the wool pulled over their little lamb eyes.

    July 9, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  2. TONY

    Poor Tom Davis! He still has hope for the Republican Party.

    Give it up Tom, you are losing everything else and the White House is just the next on a long list.

    July 9, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  3. P.U.M.A - true democrat for fair camPAINs

    Obama dices, sliced and trashed the democratic party just to steal the nomination and be installed as nominee.

    All that matters to him is his own ego and lust for power and glory.

    Why reward this self-centered, full of himself, race-card playing demagogue, with your vote.

    People think, sheople follow.

    July 9, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  4. bernj

    Unless the majority of Virginia voters are idiots or racists, and I do not believe they are either, Obama will win in Virginia and by a significant margin. Virginians, like most Americans, understand that McCain and the republicans put this country's economy in the horrible shape it is in today. The republicans are not concerned about average folk. They are flunkys for big oil, big business and insurance companies.

    Voters got cheated in 2000 and fooled in 2004. Not this time and never again.

    Obama '08

    July 9, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  5. So wrong VA

    We were right-of-center until this horrible administration. I would bite your tongue and not tell us how we're going to be voting. Come November, you'll see.

    July 9, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  6. GREG FL.


    July 9, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  7. Beltway Insider

    As a fellow citizen of Virginia, I can say that McCain has absolutely zero chance of winning here in November. Interesting how people can make opposing absolute predictions and it doesn't have any bearing on reality.

    July 9, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  8. NotPayingHilaryDebt

    Virginia is turning Blue .......

    July 9, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  9. Stud

    When have the republicans ever been right?

    July 9, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  10. GREG FL.

    DAVIS can say what he wants. Nobody thought Obama would win the Democratic nomination either and boy were they wrong about that too.

    July 9, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  11. Toi Wilson

    Is Mr. Davis aware that Virginia (of which I am a resident) has elected two democrat governors consecutively (Mark Warner and Tim Kaine). Not to mention that the commonwealth elected the first black governor, Douglas Wilder.

    July 9, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  12. SD


    July 9, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  13. TRUTH

    That person is on crack. Obama won that state in a landslide against Clinton, 623,141 votes in an open primary. McCain got 244,135 in an open primary. Do the freakin' math.

    July 9, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  14. McLooser a 3 times removed G. Pa

    Come on Obama movement " we only see Blue so watch Virginia turn Blue all the way to the the White House .
    Need no more war mongers ,no more Bush, Cheney ,McBush 8 years and they are under the Grabage Truck it even reads Bush rating is in the trash can so the Garbage truck can't be far behind!!

    July 9, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  15. Kate

    I live in VA. I, and just about every other person that I know that lives in VA, will be voting for Obama. Rep. Davis, not one of us will be sad to see you go. Obama 08. Warner 08.

    July 9, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  16. Okay...

    Mr. Obama will win Virginia. This guy is right there are alot of military bases in VA, but I know of many Obama supporters that are military. Also I have seen many cars with Obama '08 stickers driving on the base. Without a doubt Obama will win support of at least 60% of all our servicemen and women in uniform. Veterans for Obama!!!

    July 9, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  17. Virginian

    As a Virginian living in Davis' district, I could not agree with his comments more. Simply too many people in the state have served in the military, and the vast, vast majority of military personal, regardless of partisanship, are not about to vote for a junior Senator two years removed from the Illinois state legislature over a man who is an undisputed war hero and has shown unwavering support for our nation's defense and troops for over two decades in the Senate.

    July 9, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  18. Maria

    I live in VA, and contrary to Tom Davis comments, Obama will win VA. People are tired of the way the country has been run in the last 8 years, and McCain is an extension of Bush. Enough already...we want change!

    July 9, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  19. Ian M

    Um, so why is he leading there then?

    July 9, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  20. Susan

    Wanna Bet? What don't you understand –We are sick of the trashing of this country by the Republicans!!! Virginia – porve them wrong!!!

    July 9, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  21. Bob

    The most recent polls show Obama with a slight lead. For a partisan politician to say he has a "zero chance of winning" sounds more like a wish than a judgment based on facts. Only a moron who doesn;t understand probability would say "zero chance".

    July 9, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  22. JP

    We are FIRED UP and working hard here in Virginia to ensure an Obama victory!

    July 9, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  23. jonny

    Of course that is what a McCain backer will say. An Obama backer will say the opposite. Why is this even news???

    July 9, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  24. Abby

    Wait till we vote, sir. Unless you are planning to fix the vote, there is no way for you to know for sure. 🙂 will just wait and see...thats why we vote!!!

    YES WE CAN!!!

    July 9, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  25. Chris from San Antonio

    Aren't these the same guys that predicted the Iraq War will pay for itself, the cost will be around $50 billion and last around 6 months, and we'll be greeted with flowers and rainbows?

    July 9, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
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