Diary

Gunning For Virginia: Obama Opens Record 20 Campaign Offices! (Yawn)

At first glance you are inclined to think that Obama may really have a shot at flipping Virginia into the Blue column for the first time since 1964. Juicy headline; fresh new politician; Hope (at least by the Post) . . .. You get the picture. From the Washington Post.

Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign announced Wednesday that it is adding 20 offices across Virginia, an unprecedented effort by a presidential candidate and another sign that he plans to compete vigorously in a state that has been on the sidelines during past presidential contests.The offices, which will open Saturday, will be in nearly every medium-size city in the state, along with a few locations often overlooked by statewide candidates, much less a presidential campaign.

He’s even taking the fight right into the enemy’s back yard (so new, so bold).

Many offices will be in traditional Republican strongholds, such as Harrisonburg in the Shenandoah Valley and Lynchburg in southern Virginia. In southwestern Virginia, where Obama performed poorly in the Feb. 12 primary, the campaign will open an office in Bristol and in Castlewood, a town of 2,000 in the heart of the region’s coal country.

And this year will be different because the Dems have the sitting governor, a U.S. Senator (and maybe another come November), and that means Virginians love Democrats.

Recent successes by Democrats, including the elections of two successive governors and a U.S. senator, and demographic shifts have many analysts saying that Virginia may be up for grabs in the presidential race.

Oh, and there is the changing-demographics-of-Northern-Virginia angle.

[D]emographic shifts have many analysts saying that Virginia may be up for grabs in the presidential race.

Wait a minute. I seem to recall hearing this stuff before. Oh yeah, here it is from 2004.

First, the bold stroke.

The Kerry campaign recently stunned the national political community with its announcement that Kerry would seriously contest Virginia, which has not voted for a Democratic nominee since President Lyndon Johnson won a sizeable 53.5 percent in 1964.

Then Virginia’s new love for Democrats.

The Democrats were attempting to capitalize on the presence of a strong ally in the Governor’s mansion, Mark Warner, who has twice triumphed due to a nasty split in Virginia’s GOP to win both his office and a new tax-hike package.

Then the dreaded “changing demographics of Northern Virginia.”

First, the state is changing demographically, just as the Kerry campaign insisted in announcing its strategy. Northern Virginia (NoVa), which is un-Virginian to most downstaters, has grown to a quarter of the vote, with Democrats having a clear edge.

And so, this turns out to be just another quadrennial story about a brave new campaign by a Democrat, who says this time it will be different.

With one new exception. Even some Virginia Democrats have doubts about Obama’s plan. Back to the Post.

Dave “Mudcat” Saunders, a Democratic strategist in Roanoke, said Obama will have to do a lot more than just open offices if he hopes to improve his standing in the more conservative parts of the state.”It’s a good strategy, but rather than have 20 campaign offices all across Virginia, he is going to have to make a lot of visits, especially out here,” Saunders said. “He is not doing well out here. I don’t care what the polls say. . . . He can open offices on every corner, but if he doesn’t talk to these people, he is not going to win Virginia.”

Maybe Obama should learn from Kerry’s mistakes. But since he’s so much smarter than Kerry, Obama probably knows . . .

This time it will be different.

Also find Bill Dupray at The Patriot Room