Although a Democratic presidential candidate hasn’t carried Virginia since Lyndon Johnson did it in 1964, in 2001 and 2005 Virginians elected Democrats as their governor. Then, in 2006, Democrat Jim Webb took Republican incumbent George Allen’s seat in the US Senate. Now Democrat Mark Warner is heavily favored to beat Republican Jim Gilmore to replace retiring Republican John Warner.
So, it’s fair to say Virginia has been trending away from red and toward blue.
Thus, Virginia is a battleground state with its 13 electoral votes up for grabs. Pundits are seeing Virginia as “purple.” Which means we are going to see a lot of Obama and McCain and their surrogates between now and Nov. 4.
It also means both camps want to flatter Virginia any way they can. Putting Virginians on short lists for Vice President is one of the ways to do that very thing; that is, if you make sure those short lists are leaked to the press.
So, we have the names of Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine and Republican Rep. Eric Cantor being bandied about. I certainly don’t know how seriously either is actually being considered. But I have my doubts about either of them making the cut.
Neither man can tout name recognition outside the Old Dominion as being on his resume. While Kaine is on the New York Times list of potential running mates for Obama, Cantor is not on its list for McCain. Although Kaine is probably on Obama’s short list, it seems unlikely that Cantor really is on McCain’s. Working from that list of 20 names my own predictions are as follows:
Obama needs a Veep who is well known for having experience in foreign policy, so he will select either Sen. Joe Biden (Delaware) or Gov. Bill Richardson (New Mexico).
McCain needs a Veep with appeal to moderate Republicans and Independents, so he will select Tom Ridge (former governor of Pennsylvania and former Homeland Security Secretary) or Mitt Romney (former governor of Massachusetts).