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Thursday, October 20, 2011

@JimGeraghty: Democrats in Virginia’s State Legislature Tell Obama to Avoid Their Districts

National Review's Jim Geraghty has an amusing piece over on National Review Online that describes how Democrats in the state legislature, pols running for re-election this year, did everything they could the last two days to avoid being seen with President Obama during his campaign  official visit to push his "jobs" bill. The orginal list of places that would be visited was Danville, Newport News, Fredericksburg, and Charlottesville. 
But things have changed since 2008.  Danville is one of the more hardest hit areas of the Commonwealth in the current employment environment and is home to a hotly contested state senate race.  Fredericksburg is represented by Senator Edd Houck, and his district includes Lousia, which the Obama administration just turned individual assistance to those affected by August's earthquake.  Lousia was the epicenter of the quake and Houck is also envolved in a tight race.  Charlottesville would have probably been the safest place for the presidential visit as it is home to the University of Virginia and is the typical liberal college town.  In short, three of the four areas on the original visit iteniary are hotly contested state legislative races.
To the White House, the cities represented friendly territory. In 2008, Obama carried Danville with 59 percent, Newport News with 64 percent, Fredericksburg with 64 percent, and Charlottesville with 78 percent. But Virginia has state legislative elections this year, and the initial Obama list coincided almost perfectly with a selection of incumbent Democrats who are desperate to distance themselves from the national party.
Geraghty points out that the GOP is only two seats shy to tie control of the chamber with lieutenant governor Bill Bolling set up to break tie votes.  Winning three puts the GOP in out right control and the Obama visit was an opportunity to point out how close the incumbents' policies are to the guy at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.  Turns out not even former DNC chair turned U.S. Senate Candidate, Tim "The Eyebrow" Kaine could make time to be with his old friend was in the Commonwealth.  Kaine said he already had scheduled stops in Northern Virginia (the opposite part of the state that Obama would be visiting) stumping for state legislative candidates.

That original list of stops turned out not to work for the state Democrats so Obama visited a high school in Emporia on Tuesday — a community that Geraghty points out that is is 56 percent African-American and on the North Carolina Border , followed by Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, and a fire station in Chesterfield County outside Richmond on Wednesday. It should be noted that Hampton is in one of four state senate districts that Republicans do not have a candidate and there is no Democrat candidate in the Chesterfield senate district that the fire station is located.

For their part the state Democratic Party says the state they had nothing to do with the changes to the itinerary.

"Really, do you think anybody here has the kind of clout that the president would change his schedule?" Coy said.
Not that we should really expect the state party to say otherwise.

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