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Obama's Decisive Virginia Victory

Tim Craig

With the exception of Democrat Mark R. Warner's crushing, although somewhat expected, 65 percent to 35 percent win in the Senate race Tuesday, President-Elect Barack Obama has achieved a milestone for a Democrat running in Virginia in recent times.

According to unofficial results, Obama got 52.6 percent of the vote, the highest margin a Democratic candidate running statewide has achieved in Virginia since 1993. That year, Democrat Donald S. Beyer defeated Republican Michael P. Farris by a margin of 54 percent to 46 percent.

Since then, no other Democrat has been able to match the percentage Obama received in Virginia on Tuesday. In 2004, then Sen. Charles S. Robb (D) won reelection in a three-way race with less than 50 percent of the vote. In 2001, Warner received 52.2 percent in his bid for governor. Four years later, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) was elected with 51.7 percent of the vote. In 2005, Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) received 49.6 percent of the vote in his successful campaign.

If you exclude Warner by arguing his race this year against Republican James S. Gilmore III was never really competitive, Obama now holds the standard for a statewide Democratic candidate running in a post President Clinton-era Virginia election.

With rounding, Obama's winning margin over Republican John McCain was seven percentage points. The Virginia result tracks closely with Obama's 52.6 percent to McCain's 46.1 percent national popular vote margin, which could make the state a future bellwether in presidential contests.

By Tim Craig  |  November 10, 2008; 7:08 PM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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"If you exclude Warner by arguing his race this year against Republican James S. Gilmore III was never really competitive..."

Oh, come on, that's just silly. If you're writing an article about win margins, you can't throw out a data point just because he was winning by a lot. The combination of both races tells us something important about the state of Virginia politics, and including Warner's Senate race doesn't diminish Obama's accomplishment.

Posted by: jimeh | November 11, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

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