Obama Hopes to Find Southern Comfort in Va.

State demographics shifting blue, but Dems haven't won since '64
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2008 9:07 AM CDT
In this Aug. 21, 2008 file photo, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine looks on as Barack Obama speaks during a town hall meeting at John Tyler Community College in Chester, Va.    (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama is seeking to become the first Democrat to win Virginia since LBJ in 1964. He's got a good shot, writes the New York Times: demographic changes favor his party, and Virginia has now elected two Democratic governors and a senator. But John McCain has the support of several key constituencies, and the critical race is neck-and-neck.

Democrats do best in Virginia's north, near Washington, while Republicans prevail in the rural south. But on the coast lies the critical, hard-to-predict region of Hampton Roads; while more than 500,000 people there work for the McCain-friendly military, more than 20% of the population is African-American. One Obama field worker says that "there is serious momentum here, but whatever happens, it's going to be close."