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. Dan

    Well I guess that settles it then. Some guy from WcCain's camp said he won't win so it must be true. Because they've proven to be so truthful and in touch with what's going on in the US......

    July 9, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. Franky

    Actually, hold up guys, let me say it with style.......American style!

    Everyone knows in the whole wide world that in the "Land of Lincoln", the heart of the country is at, LOL!!!!

    Boy, Iove saying that, LOL!!

    July 9, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  3. saga4obama

    McCain WILL win VA....
    and there are WMD in Iraq!!!
    McCain does know about the Economy...
    McCain does NOT have BIG OIL LOBBYIST running his campaign...
    McCain NEVER gave Military information to the enemy...
    McCain is NOT a wealthy elites...
    McCain NEVER flip flopped...
    oh God i can go on and on ...but i have to go to work now. bye guys it is always fun

    July 9, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  4. Tim

    Those words are going to taste pretty bad come November...hope you have something to drink to help choke them down.

    Obama 08/12

    July 9, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  5. 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 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  6. fella from Chicago

    Obama will take Virginia like McCain will capture Illinois. Sure, wait until we vote. Like people, some States just don't turn.

    July 9, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  7. Mark Webb

    Wishfull thinking!!!!!
    McSame is simply toast!

    July 9, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  8. Mark from California

    California will surprise everyone and go McCain. McCain08; Hillary 2012!

    July 9, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  9. Cynthia

    None of us knows who will win which state. He should go ahead and retire and take Senator McCain into retirement with him.

    July 9, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  10. Alex

    Latest SurveyUSA Poll says he is ahead, if he mentioned Texas, I would agree, but c'mon...

    July 9, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  11. mollygonz

    I guess he hasn't met the Obama machine. I wouldn't get too cocky or complacent in Virginia thinking that it's all in for the Republicans. That is what get's someone into trouble, when they make statements like that. That is exactly the attitude that Clinton had about Super Tuesday and look where it landed her. The comment about the military bases is crock too. I am a military wife and alot of us are voting for Obama so good luck on that note.

    July 9, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  12. Marion Fly

    I wonder when these die hard republican states will wake up and notice the direct correlation to voting republican no matter what and the sorry condition of their state. Texas, Alabama, Virginia and Kentucky; all red states yet their infrastructure, education, etc. are among the worst in the nation. In the sage words of Dr. Phil- how's votin' republican working for ya?

    July 9, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  13. McCain for President

    Elizabeth: I have the same sentiments about the empty suit. How in the world can people vote for Obama?????????????

    July 9, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  14. gary


    July 9, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  15. Eddie D - Proud Voter

    Prove him wrong, Barack & VA voters!!!

    July 9, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  16. Tom

    Dr. Kats: Why should he try???? He didn't try in Kentucky and West Virginia in the primaries. He tried to keep Florida and Michigan OUT. If he doesn't think he needs you, he ain't going to bother talking to you. He's already proven that. Some uniter.

    July 9, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  17. Tom

    Elizabeth – Because the alternative is absolutely ridiculous to even consider, that's how.

    July 9, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  18. usa

    how does he know?has he got the republican vote-rigging machine up and running,already?didn't anyone see 'recount'?some kinda new math backed up by the conservative supreme court.

    July 9, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  19. Devon Spencer

    haha. McCain is not in any position to claim a state

    July 9, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  20. michael minorgan

    i just heard the most stupid comment from McCain. He says the fact that Social Security is being funded by young workers paying into it for the older persons receiving the benefits is 'shameful' and 'must be corrected'...Hey Mr McBush

    July 9, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  21. Renee

    Please tell us the reason why your wife didn't win in Va instead of telling us why he can't win in Va.

    July 9, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  22. michael minorgan

    i just heard the most stupid comment from McCain. He says the fact that Social Security is being funded by young workers paying into it for the older persons receiving the benefits is 'shameful' and 'must be corrected immediately'...Hey Mr McBush WAKIE WAKIE!!! That is the way the system has been designed you idiot and has been working that way since it started..AND YOU CAN TRUST THIS GUY WITH THE ECONOMY!!!!!!

    The young pay for the old and when they get old other younger ones pay for them etc etc

    July 9, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |

    have republicans ever been right about anything except that Clinton is the most polarizing political figure

    July 9, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  24. The Surly Scholar

    Ah, you see, Davis says McCain will see "extraordinary crossover support." What I hear is "there will be extraordinary selective voter disenfranchisement or unexplained errors using the magic of Diebold voting machines."

    This is just more Orwellian republican code-wording.

    July 9, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  25. McCain's Virginia Problem

    I am a Virginia Native, Barack will guarantee win Virginia. Why? There is a little secret that you outsiders don't understand about McCain's Virginia problem. Virgil Goode (The most respected southern Virginian) does NOT support John McCain, this is THE ABSOLUTE loss in McCain. No Goode, No votes in Southern VA. This will KILL his vote in southern Virginia where he normally would have won. Obama will by far carry Northern Virginia, blacks in Richmond. Yeah the Navy is in Virginia Beach, but so are a lot of African Americans. Good Luck McCain if you think you HAVE A CHANCE IN VA

    Alexandria, VA

    July 9, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8