Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Potomac Primary

Doug Wilder, the black former governor of Virginia, is supporting Obama and thinks he can carry Virginia -- more evidence of his ability to win some red states:

I believe Mr. Obama can make Virginia competitive for Democrats in November. And I believe he is the right person for president and for our times, because he embodies the spirit of hope and renewal of our quintessential American faith that we can, and must, do better. Listen to his campaign speeches and you will hear something not heard often enough at Democratic rallies -- the crowd chanting "U-S-A" and the speaker making the case for American exceptionalism.

Virginia is neither a red state nor a blue state. Its citizens are too independent-minded. Having been elected first lieutenant governor and then governor some years ago as a Democrat here, I can tell you that voter support depends more on a particular candidate than it does on party affiliation.

Democrats now have an opportunity to carry Virginia. The progress that Mr. Obama promises is not aimed at any particular group of Americans. It's a new freedom for all Americans, a freedom to dream again and to believe that we are not stuck in the past.

The Potomac Primary
February 9, 2008; Page A8

Richmond, Va.

Back in November 1992, I was in Little Rock, Ark., watching the presidential returns roll in, with Bill and Hillary Clinton. I had briefly run for president that year myself, so one set of results stood out. Mr. Clinton missed winning my home state by a margin much slimmer than many would have guessed -- about five points. When I saw that, I turned to the new first couple and noted that Mr. Clinton could have carried Virginia, if only he had campaigned there.

On Tuesday, Virginia will hold its presidential primary along with Maryland and Washington, D.C., in what's being called the "Potomac Primary." And I again find myself in the position of telling Democrats that Virginia can be a competitive state in the general election, if only the party decides to compete here.


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