Local Commentary

Editorial: The Election Bull’s Eye

Falls Church and its environs sit square in the middle of the battleground where the ultimate outcome of the November U.S. presidential election will be fought with virtual hand-to-hand combat.

This is not a Civil War terrain, there will be no slaughter of troops, and blue rather than red will be running in the streams, as the recent years’ shift here to a pro-Democratic electorate virtually ensures.

But if you took a compass on a map, stuck it in Falls Church, and placed the pencil at Fairfax City on the west and Ballston on the east, then drew a circle, you’ll identify the bull’s eye that may well decide whether Virginia will go for its first Democratic candidate since 1964.

This is exactly the area that provided the decisive margins for Gov. Tim Kaine in 2005 and U.S. Sen. James Webb in 2006. Both would have lost, statewide, had not their electoral margins been so overwhelming in precisely this area. To say it will be decisive for the outcome of the entire 2008 election, with Virginia’s electoral votes being what may put Obama over the top, or not, is to say the least.

Certainly nobody anywhere around here can say they have no real role in picking the next U.S. president. If there’s anywhere in nation where being involved will make a big difference, it is right here. This is not lost on the thousands around these parts who’ve heard Virginia Del. Jim Scott’s standard stump speech more than a few times. He likes to call himself “Landslide Jim,” because he won his first election to the state legislature from this area’s 53rd District by exactly one vote!

None of this is lost on the Obama campaign, either. Within the circle circumscribed as above, there are no fewer than three Obama campaign offices, each radiating circles of influence around them, with the large office in the downtown of the City of Falls Church right in the middle.

For this region, and for Virginia as a whole, this is vastly different than anything seen since at least 1964, as all the old timer Democratic faithful here attest.
Virginia has routinely been written off by the Democrats, and for legitimate reasons. Even when candidates have come to Virginia in the past to stir up enthusiasm for winning the state, they spoke more loudly with their feet, never throwing money into a serious effort on the ground. Not so this time. Statewide, there are over 30 Obama campaign headquarters getting up and running now.
Moreover, whether or not Obama selects Virginia Gov. Kaine as his running mate, he will have the benefit of Kaine and the popular and tireless Mark Warner, running for the U.S. Senate, himself, to help him carry Virginia. No doubt winning Virginia was on the Democrats’ mind when they picked Warner to deliver the highly-coveted keynote speech at next week’s Democratic convention in Denver.

Every single vote’s going to count, as it did for Webb in 2006. It will do, in the end, if our next president goes by “Landslide Barack.”

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