Tim Craig looks at some interesting numbers for Northern Virginia Democrats:
First the bad news.
President-elect Barack Obama received 60 percent of the vote in Fairfax County and 72 percent in Arlington County and Alexandria, giving him a trove of support that made it nearly impossible for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to carry the state.
Now, the good news.
Obama drew 60 percent of the vote in Fairfax and 72 percent in Arlington and Alexandria, which are about the same percentages that Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and Sen. James Webb (D) received in their races in 2005 and 2006.
So if Northern Virginia has leveled out all eyes then turn downstate.
For a while now Republicans have argued that if they can appeal to the Conservative base, the small government, fiscal responsibility base, they can win. When they don’t, the base stays home. These three races help demonstrate that – John McCain and Jerry Kilgore failed to excite the base and lost by larger margins than George Allen, who did excite the base but also hurt himself greatly with the M-word fiasco.
Virginia isn’t blue and is hardly purple. It still leans red. But there have been very few Republican candidates statewide to excite that color to come to the polls. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine won not by being blue but by being purple themselves, by coming to the center to suck off some of the more purple right of center vote. That combined with a Republican challenger who did not move the Republican base red votes to get out to the polls has led to a strong run as of late for the Democrats.
If Northern Virginia has peaked, then the Republicans have a way forward. But it will take a candidate who can walk the walk and reinvigorate the party to make it happen.