John McCain scored a huge victory in yesterday’s Virginia Republican primary winning nearly 51% of the vote and defeating Mike Huckabee by a double-digit margin. But a closer look at the results reveals McCain’s biggest weakness: his inability to win conservative voters.
McCain won the primary by over 50,000 votes. However, when you look at the individual city and county results McCain’s problems are immediately obvious to anyone who is familiar with the state’s demographics.
Mike Huckabee won in more rural and suburban counties which are the more conservative areas of the state. McCain won the larger cities and urban counties that traditionally lean more towards Democratic candidates. Even though McCain won a big victory8 he still did not do well in traditionally Republican areas.
Virginia has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1952. However, this year may be the year that Virginia turns blue. Consider this: the last two governors of Virginia have been Democrats (Mark Warner and current governor Tim Kaine). The last time Virginia elected a senator they picked Democrat Jim Webb over incumbent Republican George Allen. This year, long-time Republican senator John Warner (a RINO in every sense of the term, by the way) will retire and the aforementioned Mark Warner is a heavy favorite to win his seat over former Republican governor and one-time presidential candidate Jim Gilmore.
Unless McCain can figure out a way to get the conservative Republican base behind him, he’ll have a hard time winning Virginia. If he cannot win Virginia, he won’t be able to win the White House no matter who the Democrats decide to nominate.

Filed under: ConservativePoliticsRepublicansTom

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