Henrico County: A Key To Battleground Virginia

A follow on to what we said last week at The Hill. From Peter Hamby at CNN:

Strategists for Barack Obama and Mitt Romney don't see eye to eye on much, but they do agree on this: It's tough to envision a path to the White House that doesn't include Virginia.

And as they look for ways to tip the balance in November, an unlikely bellwether is emerging in the heart of Virginia: Henrico County, a longtime conservative bastion that has mutated into a key barometer for political watchers in the commonwealth.

"It's the battleground county in the battleground state," said state Sen. Donald McEachin, a Democrat whose district encompasses parts of Henrico. "When you look at Democratic success over the past few years, whether it's Tim Kaine, Mark Warner or the president, what they all have in common is, they carried Henrico."

Henrico's swing status was affirmed in 2009, when Bob McDonnell wrested the county back into Republican control in the governor's race just one year after Obama won it during his march to the White House.

For operatives in both political parties, the county's shift from conservative to competitive is striking.

Along with Hanover and Chesterfield, Henrico is one of three populous suburban counties outside the heavily African-American city of Richmond that were long counted on to deliver big Republican tallies in statewide races.

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published this page in In The News 2012-05-16 12:51:00 -0400
Analysis & Political Strategy