July 9th, 2008
03:00 PM ET
14 years ago

McCain backer: Obama won't win Virginia

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/09/art.obamava.gi.jpg caption="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. Puma = Republican

    Virginia welcomes Obama!

    July 9, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  2. Ian

    I find it weird that a McCain supporter would say something like that.

    July 9, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  3. SANTE





    July 9, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  4. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    Nice cheerleading effort Congressman Davis,

    Also note the trend Dems 3 and Reps 0. That is, a big fat ZERO when it comes to seats that were open and were previously held by a repub. So, Davis' seat could be the next to go.

    Or, are you telling us in advance that you're on the ticket and you're guaranteeing a victory in your home state? Hmm, interesting isn't it?

    July 9, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  5. William,from Cali!

    WHO CARES IF HE DOESN"T!!!!!!!!!!!! He will win this ELECTION, even with; Jesse's "overheard misspoke" comments...........................

    July 9, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  6. Lesley

    Maybe someone should let the veterans and persons living on military bases in VA that McCain voted against the bill to expand GI benefits, and Obama voted in favor of that bill. And that his maverick reputation has been abandoned in favor of the current Republican policies under Bush. He lost to Bush with that maverick approach and so I guess he felt it didn't work for him. You can't embrace the current policies that have not been working for this country and still call yourself a maverick.

    July 9, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  7. FormerGOP

    Well they also said he would not get this far??? And look what happen!!!! He is ahead in the polls and I know he will go all the way!

    July 9, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  8. CAM

    I live in rural Virginia. In 2000, we were surrounded by Bush/Cheney
    bumperstickers, in 2004, there were maybe half as many. Now – I could count on one hand the number I've seen in the last 6 months.
    And I could fill an address book with the disillusioned, formerly dedicated Republicans who have told me they've had enough.

    Virginia will be very very close. Even down here in "good ol boy" rural

    July 9, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  9. James Hussein, SC

    Well Mr. Davis,

    Thank you and please get out of our government.

    July 9, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  10. xddy4u

    Don't speak to soon. Every State if fair game. Virginia's economy is in the dump. They better way what's more important, a redneck stance or a triving economy. This country is about to make a new historic turn, If Virginia want to stay in the dark ages so be it. Obama is about to "Tiger Woods" Capital Hill.

    July 9, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  11. PCS / North Carolina

    "McCain's biography and maverick reputation will carry him through a potential backlash against the damaged national GOP brand."

    GOP brand ? = they are selfish unpatriotic idiots.

    July 9, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  12. Ex-Republican for Obama

    If his statement holds true, then there will be alot of unhappy people in Virginia come November.
    Obama IS taking the White House, deal with it.

    On a related topic: Remember Obama nation, you MUST vote. I state this loud and clear, as a former republican, the republicans usually turn out in proportionately larger numbers for voting then democrats. The democrats, historically, have a 'younger' voter they rely upon, this in itself has been the cause of large leads in the polls leading up to election day, but losses in the end. If you want to make this the landslide that we are speaking of, do NOT get lax! Show up and vote!

    Obama '08

    July 9, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  13. Big Al

    Another clueless comment from the wishful thinking, soon to be ex-congressman. Virginia is obviously in play this year- among the reasons the GOP has totally lost touch with political reality and the American electorate. Anyone remember George Allen in 2006 on his way to the 2008 GOP nomination for President. Watch Mark Warner win in a walk in November of 2008....

    July 9, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  14. Aspire

    If RNC is not worried about VA, then why would they have this guy on a conference call ? Go figure !

    July 9, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  15. Willy

    The media has been trying to call this race for BHO everyday.

    July 9, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  16. Tim

    McSame is the world's greatest flip-flopper and CNN refuses to call him on it. He said months ago that we should leave Iraq if the government asked us to. Well now they have and he says we will not leave. That's not only a flip flop, it a half gainer with a full twist!!!!

    July 9, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  17. Monica for Obama in Indiana

    A nother republican thinking all the people that lives in Virginia is stupid now. Good thing he is retiring.

    July 9, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  18. E

    YES HE WILL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 9, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  19. rose

    I am from Virginia. I am 100%sure Mr Obama will win big and i will campaign my heart out for him

    July 9, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  20. Unempressed

    When people are losing and scared – they counter balance and go into denial.


    Obama '08

    July 9, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  21. beachgirl

    NO SE PUEDE.... Sr. Obama, Virginia is not with you and so maaaany of us! California will not be with you either, just wait to see!!!!

    July 9, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  22. Obama backer: McCain won't win Virginia

    Of course a McCain backer is going to say Obama won't win Virginia.
    Who wrote this article? Thank you Dr. Obvious. Where is the article about the Obama backer saying McSame won't win Virginia?

    July 9, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
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