[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/03/art.newob.jpg caption="Obama's campaign sees Virginia as a 'pivotal' state."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Newly minted Democratic nominee Barack Obama will kick off his general election campaign on Thursday with a pair of campaign stops in Virginia, signaling that the Illinios senator thinks he can turn the once solidly-red state into a Democratic pick-up this fall.
The day will culminate with an evening rally in northern Virginia, where Sen. Jim Webb, often mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate, will make his first campaign appearance with Obama.
Virginia has not voted for a Democrat in November since Lyndon Johnson took the state in 1964, but for more than a year, Obama's campaign has cited the state's 13 electoral votes as part of their argument that he can re-shuffle the electoral map this fall. Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor said the commonwealth will play a "pivotal role" in the general election.