Destination 270

SMU Students Analyze the 2012 Presidential Election

Kaine Takes Virginia Senate Race

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Timothy Kaine defeated George Allen in the Virginia Senate race.

This race was under intense watch from the beginning and is one of the most expensive Senate races, “Timothy M. Kaine defeated George Allen in Virginia’s Senate race Tuesday night, the climax of an intensely watched matchup that cost more than $80 million,” reports the Washington Post.

This race signified the changing nature of the state of Virginia, “Once reliably Republican, the commonwealth has become much more competitive because of its changing population, particularly in fast-growing Northern Virginia. Its evolving demographics helped Barack Obama carry the state in 2008, the first Democratic presidential candidate to do so in 44 years, and Obama won it again Tuesday. ”

As Virginia has cemented itself as a swing state, it seems that close races between both parties are here to stay.

According to the Washington Post, the victory for Kaine symbolizes a the potential of moderate bipartisanship, “Kaine’s victory is a vindication of the moderate, bridge-building brand of politics touted by both him and Sen. Mark Warner (D), the man Kaine succeeded in the governor’s mansion. Kaine repeatedly touted his willingness to strike compromises and work with both parties, particularly on averting looming defense cuts that would disproportionately affect Virginia.”

The loss for Allen, however, may also signify the broad concensus that the Republican party many not be able to continue to run on the same platform as it has in the past, “Allen, by contrast, ran on a solidly conservative platform of lower taxes and smaller government. Although he cited his past record working with Democrats, particularly as governor, Allen emphasized that a leader’s job is to set clear priorities and persuade others to follow.”

The demographics of Virginia has largely defined this new voting nature of the state. The black vote in particular has cause this voting shift, “With African Americans making up 20 percent of the population and electorate in the commonwealth — its largest minority voting group — the black vote will factor significantly into the Nov. 6 election, including the tight race between Kaine and Allen. Observers say Kaine’s history with black voters in Virginia should serve him well Tuesday — perhaps better than President Obama.”

The black vote largely helped Kaine to victory as much, if not more, as it helped President Obama, “Also, ads making the case for why African Americans should vote for Kaine run constantly on urban radio and are also in black newspapers. Kaine has held forums with black business owners, ministers and community leaders. Campaign spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine pointed out that Kaine increased state contracts to minority-owned businesses as governor.”

Virginia remains a fascinating contrast of deeply rooted history and a new and growing populace that provides unique challenges for each candidate, much like the United States.

As Virginia enjoys its cemented status as a swing state, each party will need to continue to reevaluate the measures they take in all highly contested areas like Virginia, on a local and national level.

 

 

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