The Plank

Virginia Is For Democrats?

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Democrats took back the State Senate in Virginia today. Okay, it's just a state race -- boring, right? No: The RNC had been really worried about this one, bussing volunteers from central command out to far-flung exurban areas to shore up candidates; Democrats poured in money and effort, too, because the outcome has national implications.

It's the flip side of the recent Niki Tsongas/Jim Ogonowski special election in Massachusetts, where the Republican challenger scared the Democrat with anti-immigration rhetoric: In Virginia, Republicans' ability to hold seats by playing to immigration fears was limited. It's a big victory for fresh-faced Democratic governor Tim Kaine, setting up his reputation and prospects. Northern Virginia, and Fairfax County in particular, wielded its growing power as a Democratic stronghold, unseating several Republicans including Jeanne Devolites Davis, the wife of U.S. House Republican Tom Davis -- a loss that may itself trickle upward, as Tom Davis has hinted he might not run again himself if his wife lost, and his seat is super vulnerable. Most of all, the Democratic victory yesterday allows us to imagine this once-incredible Virginia scenario in '08: A Democratic State House and Senate, two U.S. Democratic senators, a Democratic governor, and the state in serious presidential play. It's a brave new world.

--Eve Fairbanks

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