Talking Points Memo is reporting this evening that the McCain campaign is gearing up to air ads in the four major media markets in the state of Virginia. Is this a sign that the McCain camp is worried that this long time red state is ready to turn blue?
The campaign will start airing a sixty second ad next Tuesday in Norfolk, Richmond, Roanoke, and Tri-Cities. They didn’t spend a lot of money on the ad because it is only slated to run four or five times a week compared to the four or five times a day McCain’s first ad aired in my home market of Pittsburgh, but if McCain isn’t worried about Virginia, he should be.
Virginia has not voted for a Democratic president since Lyndon Johnson in 1964, and until this cycle was considered a solidly Republican state. However, changing demographics have turned Virginia into a state that now trends Democratic. After Mark Warner disposes of Jim Gilmore this fall, the state will have a Democratic governor and two Democratic senators.
The early polls in Virginia show Obama with a slim 1-2 point lead, but the state is split 50/50 along age, race, and gender lines. The Obama campaign sees the state as critical to their November strategy, especially if Florida goes for McCain, and they have already been sending key staff members to organize and are planning ad buys for the state.
This where Obama’s fundraising advantage really pays off for him. At worst, he will force McCain to spend some of his limited resources in a state that George W. Bush carried twice. At best, he will tip the state into his column. Either way, it is a win-win for the Democratic nominee.