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Editorial: A state in play

Until recently, Virginia was a reliably Republican state as far as presidential politics was concerned. The 2008 election changed all that, and now Virginia is spoken of in the same breath as perennial battleground states like Florida and Ohio as being the key to an Electoral College victory.

Of course, Virginia wasn’t always such a Republican stronghold. Traditionally it was part of the Solid South, the collection of former Confederate states that could be counted upon to vote Democratic every four years (except for going for Herbert Hoover over Al Smith in 1928). But starting with Dwight Eisenhower, the state switched its loyalties and, with the exception of Lyndon Johnson in 1964, Virginia had remained faithful to the Grand Old Party.

The state’s most recent change, when it chose Democrat Barack Obama by a 53-46 margin in the 2008 election, could be just a one-time aberration or perhaps the start of a more significant and lasting political shift. One thing that&rsq...

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