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On The Record

Anita Kumar

Recently, we introduced you to On The Record , a regular feature here on the Virginia Politics blog -- a funny, outrageous or otherwise memorable quote from someone in the state's political world. Have a quote you want to share? E-mail me at

Now on to our latest installment:

"It used to be that the Republican plan was that you'd run in Northern Virginia and hope you didn't lose too badly. Now you have to run and you have to run strong up here or you will lose. It's why we've lost all these races in the past," Del. Dave Albo (R-Fairfax) said.

"For the Democrat, you need to win big. For the Republican, you have to hang in there and do respectfully and not get blown out. It's a critical battleground," Sen. J. Chapman "Chap" Petersen (D-Fairfax) said.

The pair of Fairfax legislators were speaking to my colleague Roz Helderman about the importance of their region -- home to 27 percent of Virginia voters and an increasingly liberal area. Several recent statewide Democrats owe their wins to Northern Virginia, which has turned the once-reliably Republican state into a contested battleground. Both Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell have been campaigning heavily in Northern Virginia, where a recent Washington Post poll shows the two men virtually tied.

What do you think about their quotes? Share your thoughts with us below.

By Anita Kumar  |  August 26, 2009; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , 2009 Governor's Race , 2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Election 2009  
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As a campaign junkie who follows numbers closely, I understood Chap's comment and THOUGHT I followed Albo's, but the comments still are hard to reconcile.

A Democrat needs to establish big margins in NoVA to make up downstate losses. That's Chap's point, and he's right. Jim Webb was losing all night to George Allen until the late-reporting NoVA jurisdictions came in, and only at the very end of the count, early Wednesday morning, did Webb seize the lead and eventual victory. The same thing happened with Obama, whose Virginia victory was clear on election night but still he trailed for a few hours in the vote count before NoVA came in.

Albo's point, as best as I can make sense of it, appears to be that because NoVA's population is exploding, a Republican winning, say, 40% in NoVA today is losing a bigger raw vote margin than if he got 40% a decade ago. That means
the Republican must win a higher percentage today than a decade ago, to keep the raw vote margin static. If my guess regarding Albo's point is correct, then Albo, just as Petersen, is right.

So, both quotes can be harmonized, they don't have to be contradictory.

Posted by: jayreddy99 | August 26, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

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