Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin are scheduled to roll into Virginia on Monday in a bid to stop the Republican ticket’s slide in the state and thwart what once was unthinkable: fractures in the “Solid South,” the backbone of successful Republican presidential politics for four decades.Not long ago, Virginia appeared solidly in the McCain camp. Republican strategists knew the race would be tighter there in 2008 than in past years, but were confident enough not to open a standalone state headquarters and spent sparingly on advertising while pouring resources into other states.
But in the past week, polls began showing Sen. McCain falling well behind Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama in the state. Two weeks ago, Sen. Obama and his running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, held a rally in Prince William County, Va., long a conservative stronghold in a state that has voted for only one Democratic presidential nominee since 1948. The Democrats drew more than 20,000 people, many of whom waited an hour in a torrential downpour and lightning before the candidates arrived.
Barack is even advertising in Georgia and Mississippi to help the down ballot Democrats and keep McCain playing defense.