U.S. Senate candidates George Allen and Tim Kaine are supporting candidates in Virginia's fall elections by hopscotching the commonwealth for campaign appearances — including, notably, a number of events in voter-rich Northern Virginia that could be crucial to their own fortunes next year.
Information provided by his campaign shows that Mr. Allen and his wife, Susan, have attended more than 50 campaign events for state and local Republicans leading up to the Nov. 8 elections, crisscrossing the state from Fairfax to Galax.
"George and Susan Allen believe that these upcoming November elections are a huge opportunity for Republicans and could have a major positive impact on the future and direction of our State," Allen spokesman Bill Riggs said in an email. "That's why they are traveling all throughout the Commonwealth, participating and headlining events and fundraisers for State and local candidates, doing nearly 20 fundraisers in the third quarter alone."
Mr. Kaine's campaign, meanwhile, provided information from a representative sampling of about 30 of his appearances at Democratic candidates' events.
"Governor Kaine has committed significant time and resources to helping Democratic candidates in every corner of the Commonwealth," Kaine campaign spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine said in an email. "Hes been from Richlands to Hampton and up to Fairfax supporting men and women that share his positive vision for the Commonwealth."
With low turnout expected in Virginia's off-year elections, the two political heavyweights bring star power to races that voters might otherwise overlook.
Delegate L. Scott Lingamfelter, Prince William Republican, described his August campaign kickoff event attended by Mr. Allen as "the best time I've ever had" — even as Hurricane Irene was bearing down on the state.
"My event was off the charts," said Mr. Lingamfelter, who described Mr. Allen as a personal friend. "We had 145 people show up in the middle of a driving rain at a VFW post. You can't get 145 people to a governor's event, let alone a delegate's race. Let's face it, George Allen is really hitting all the major themes to conservatives who want constitutional principles at work [and] want less government, more freedom and more opportunity. As he's articulating those views, he's getting the electorate very excited."
Mr. Kaine has been welcomed with open arms by state Democrats as well, being greeted with enthusiastic chants of "Run, Tim, run!" at the state party's Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in February when he was still toying with a bid.
State Sen. David W. Marsden, Fairfax Democrat, is among those who welcomed the former governor's appearance at his event.
"Those are certainly our well-attended canvasses," Mr. Marsden said with a laugh. "People want to see Tim, and so we've had some really good turnouts on the occasions he joined us. I think hes trying to build enthusiasm for his campaign — and it certainly does for ours."
Both candidates made a significant number of appearances at events in Northern Virginia, a region long critical to success in statewide races. About half the events the Kaine campaign provided information for were in the D.C. suburbs, while about a third of Mr. Allen's appearances have brought him to the area.
The shifting demographics will present challenges and opportunities for Mr. Allen and Mr. Kaine next year — especially in notorious swing districts that have exploded in growth over the past decade.
Prince William County's population grew 43 percent over the past 10 years, now topping 400,000 and a majority-minority district. And the population of Loudoun County, driven in large part by growth in the Asian and Hispanic communities, jumped 83 percent over the past decade.
President Obama won Loudoun County in 2008 by a margin of 54 percent to 45 percent and Prince William, 58 percent to 42 percent.
A year later, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, took 61 percent of the vote in Loudoun and 59 percent of the vote in Prince William in his 17-point romp over state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, Bath Democrat.
Quentin Kidd, a political-science professor at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, cited the confluence of the 140 elections for legislative seats, the unfinished business of congressional redistricting, and the looming U.S. Senate and presidential elections as evidence that the political intensity in the deeply purple state is likely to only grow.
"I don't think anybody has control or has their hands on it," he said. "I think everybody's holding their breath and waiting to see how it all plays out, hoping they don't get too damaged by it."
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