The Washington Times - May 27, 2008, 04:40PM

The Election Season has now begun. The press is once again touting the quadrennial traditional “Virginia is in play” presidential story, with the Washington Post’s weekend version(link: headlined “Virginia is up for grabs in fall.” Both presidential campaigns told the paper they will compete in the state, but there’s nothing new there. Al Gore thought he would be competitive in 2000 and John Kerry claimed the same thing in 2004, only to pull his troops out a month before the election, conceding what history has repeatedly confirmed: Virginia wants to vote Republican in presidential elections. The last time it voted Democratic was 44 years ago, to elect President Johnson, who defeated Barry Goldwater in a landslide. There have been some close contests since then, but Virginia, despite some solid Democratic successes at the state level, still seems to want to put a Republican in the White House.
Here are the results from the last eight elections:
1976 49 48
1980 53 40
1984 62 37
1988 60 39
1992 45 41
1996 48 46
2000 52 44
2004 54 45
The long-term trend there has been close elections followed by solid Republican victories. In a recent meeting with editors and reporters at the Washington Times, former Gov. James S. Gilmore III said he doesn’t think anything’s fundamentally changed in the state: “Virginia is not a purple state and it’s certainly not a blue state. It is a red state. It is going to vote Republican in November.”

Stephen Dinan, national political reporter, The Washington Times