Nov 2, 2009 No Comments ›› Erik Wong
Virginia could be poised to swing back to Republican hands in a big way on Tuesday.
The traditionally purple state has trended Democratic in recent elections. President Obama secured a victory there in last year’s presidential election and the governorship has been in Democratic hands for eight years.
But with Republican Bob McDonnell holding a wide lead over Democrat Creigh Deeds, the former state attorney general could be at the fore of a GOP takeover on Election Day.
Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, told Fox News he expects McDonnell to win big — and usher other Republicans into office along the way.
“McDonnell is not only going to win — he’s going to win by a landslide. He’s going to pull his entire ticket to victory,” he said, predicting GOP gains in the House of Delegates as well. “It’s a big Republican year in Virginia.”
A Richmond Times-Dispatch poll released Sunday showed McDonnell leading by 12 points. In the race for attorney general, Republican Ken Cuccinelli was leading Democrat Steve Shannon by 14 points.
But Deeds’ campaign insisted the Democratic candidate still has a shot at pulling out an upset.
“Anything can happen in the final few days,” Deeds adviser Mo Elleithee told Fox News, saying the outcome will boil down to whether the campaign can drive out Obama supporters to the polls.
Elleithee predicated a “close race” on Tuesday.
Both gubernatorial candidates are continuing their push for votes on Monday.
McDonnell started his day in Alexandria and plans to hold another rally in Richmond Monday evening. Deeds plans to join Gov. Tim Kaine — head of the Democratic National Committee — and other Democrats on the ticket at a get-out-the-vote rally for students at Virginia Commonwealth University.
But Obama and other top Democrats have abandoned the Virginia race. Obama stumped for Deeds last week, but has no plans to return. He’s directed his energy and time into defending New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine against a challenge from Republican Chris Christie, and headlined two rallies in New Jersey Sunday for the Democrat.
Sabato said McDonnell, should he lead the kind of “landslide” he predicts, will be in a position to become a “role model” of sorts for the GOP and a likely vice presidential candidate in 2012.
“Unless McDonnell takes himself out, I can guarantee you he’ll be on the short list for vice president in 2012,” he said. “It’s inevitable.”