July 9th, 2008
03:00 PM ET
6 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. Necie

    We'll see.

    July 9, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. No Bush Third Term

    I'd take that bet. The Republicans clearly don't understand the change in the numbers and types of voters registered this year. The record number of voters registered and participating in this election are DEMOCRATIC, not Republican.

    The numbers will prove his statement to be a lie. McCain = Bush's Third Term.

    Come'on America... say it with me: No Bush Third Term!

    July 9, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  3. Michael in ATX

    I want to know why large populations of veterans would vote for McCain, when he was vehemently against the recent GI Bill legislation? Sure send them off to fight and die, but don't you dare spend our tax dollars to take care of them when they get home.

    Virginia will go blue... and so will Georgia!

    July 9, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  4. Phil in KC

    Many servicemen (and women) may vote for McCain. But what of their spouses? Might they not be ready to see the war come to an end?
    Webb won VA and the state does seem to be trending blue. Maybe Davis is trying to convince himself as much as us.

    July 9, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  5. jonny

    By "Virginia" he must have meant "West Virginia". Virgina has a good chance of voting for Obama.

    July 9, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  6. aaron from minneapolis

    Why would veterans support McCain when McCain won't support veterans??? Sounds like a flawed statement to me.

    July 9, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  7. Jason, Texas

    Wow, so Virginians are a bunch of ignorant bafoons? That's unfortunate. Use your brains people. Can't you see what the Republicans are doing? You're stupid enough to put McCain in there again? Wow.

    July 9, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. California Gold

    There are 2 sides to this Mr. Davis. You project, "McCain will see "extraordinary crossover support" from Virginia Democrats, especially in the parts of the state with military bases and substantial veteran populations."

    As a former member of the military and a former spouse of a military serviceman, I would never vote for a hawk like McCain. Those families who have to say good-bye to their loved ones, knowing there's a good chance he/she will return physically maimed, psychologically damaged, or dead would rather have someone in the White House who proposes a strong military and diplomacy in lieu of a hawk who doesn't grasp the nuance between transitioning foreign troop presence to Iraqi. McCain calls that surrender. What a hawk. No he wants war. 100 years of war. More war. Let's bomb them too. Diplomacy from a position of oppression and violence and then we give 'em more, maybe nuke 'em too, then we can claim the ash and cinders as Victory.

    Won't Davis be surprised when his predictions are wrong come November!

    July 9, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. Sean

    Wow! A McCain supporter says Obama won't win his state? What a shocker!

    I bet we can find an Obama supporter who can say that he WILL win Virginia. Here....I'll do it:

    "Sean, the guy who works in the film industry in southern California, told reporters flatly: 'Obama IS going to win in Virginia. Oh...and in California.'"

    July 9, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. John in Columbus Ohio

    Because Republicans are never horribly horribly wrong about anything are they?

    How can you tell its going to rain? A Bush Administration spokesman says that the weather will be sunny and pleasant and we have no need to worry about rain.

    July 9, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  11. JB from NH

    McCain will self-destruct well before the election. Go Obama!

    July 9, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. Marcus E. Anderson all for Obama 08

    Yes he will!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You can count on that.

    Obama 08/12

    July 9, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. lovable liberal

    Why is it news that a Republican thinks a Democrat won't win his home state?

    July 9, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  14. HiFi

    "Cultural issues"? You mean like he's black?

    July 9, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  15. Dave in Atlanta

    Hmmm would this be the same right of center state that is poised to send Mark Warner to the Senate?

    July 9, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  16. Candy West Virginia

    Why? Did the republicans fix the elections again??????

    July 9, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  17. Steve

    Elizabeth, the same can be said of Obama. There are a lot of people who are thinking " How in the word can prople vote for Obama?"

    July 9, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  18. jonny

    By "Virginia" he must have meant "West Virginia". Virgina has a good chance of voting for Obama.

    July 9, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  19. Brett

    Funny how lame ducks seem to make bold predictions based out of emotion and fear. Republicans are fearful since their party has gotten beat up in the past, what, 8 years, that Obama's intelligent approach will swing many in Virginia to vote for him. Northern Virginia has become more of a forward thinking, progressive and liberal area than in the past. Obama is smart to come to Virginia, because I think he understands the demographics of the very populated Northern Virginia districts. Young, bright, intelligent, creative, forward thinking professionals everywhere. If Obama wins anywhere in Virginia, it will start with those districts in Northern Va.

    July 9, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  20. Ms. Sims

    Why would our armed service men/women vote for McCain. Because he was in the Navy? Because he was a POW? He actively votes against measures to help them and their families then sits with Bush and claims responsibilty for bills that he ardently opposed.

    They want to serve and protect our country but they don't want another president to send them into a pointless war again!

    July 9, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  21. jean HUISSEIN

    WE SHALL SEE

    BARACK HUISSEIN OBAMA 08 AND 12

    July 9, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  22. FOSTER

    IF YOU ARE BETTER OFF NOW THAN YOU WERE EIGHT YEARS AGO VOTE FOR JOHN McCain. IF YOU ARE NOT BETTER OFF VOTE FOR BARACK OBAMA. I LIVE IN VIRGINIA AND I AM NOT BETTER OFF.

    July 9, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  23. John B. From New Hampshire

    so says Mr. GOP.... HMMMMM fishy much?

    OBAMA/SEBELIUS '08

    July 9, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  24. RB

    Isn't that what he said about Webb??

    July 9, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  25. Darryl

    HAHAHAHA

    And that's why Tom Davis is retiring, out of touch

    July 9, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
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