Obama Fighting McCain in Battleground Virginia

Sept. 13, 2008 — -- Presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama both converged on the key battleground state of Virginia last week with McCain using his new running mate Sarah Palin to draw his biggest crowd yet of 23,000 people, mostly women, in suburban Fairfax.

Obama, hoping to ride a blue wave that has swept the traditionally red state of Virginia in November, visited the military town of Norfolk talking economic and education reform on the same day.

Virginia, a traditionally conservative state and home to the world's largest naval base and the Pentagon, has a high population of military veterans and is over 70 percent white.

The last time a Democratic presidential candidate won Virginia was in 1964.

However Democrats have made strides recently and Virginia is now considered a "toss up" according to the latest ABC News assessment, with it's 13 electoral votes in play for either the Democratic or Republican parties.

After backing President George W, Bush in 2000 with 52 percent support and in 2004 with 54 percent, Virginians elected Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine in 2005, Democratic Sen. Jim Webb in 2006, and former Democratic Gov. Mark Warner is vying to take longtime retiring Republican Sen. John Warner's senate seat in November.

The Obama campaign, flush with cash, has targeted the "Old Dominion" state, opening campaign offices in traditionally Republican areas of the state, and spending record amounts of money on big media advertising buys over the summer.

Yet the latest polls still show an extremely tight race in Virginia with McCain over Obama by four percentage points, making it a key battleground Republicans are hoping to hold red, and Democrats are hoping to turn blue.