Obama Forces Battle for Va.

McCain forced to defend GOP stronghold
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2008 1:09 PM CDT
Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain answers questions at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington Wednesday, April 11, 2007.   (AP Photo/Don Petersen)
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(Newser) – Virginia hasn’t swung Democrats’ way since Lyndon Johnson, but suddenly it’s a battleground, the Washington Post reports, and Obama appears to have all the tactical advantages. The Dem has three times as many campaign offices, and his army of volunteers has registered almost a half-million new voters.

McCain’s effort is newer and smaller, one GOP consultant complained, because Republicans “still think, somehow, that Virginia is bulletproof.” McCain’s operation has improved since he selected Sarah Palin as his running mate, but before then “there was absolutely no enthusiasm,” says local GOP politician Michael Frey. You just can't count him out: Virginia does lean conservative.