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Kaine: State's neither red nor blue
Kaine says Virginia's neither red nor blue

 The day after winning election to the United States Senate, Tim Kaine said candidates and issues matter more than party to many Virginia voters.
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Date published: 11/8/2012



--The day after narrowly winning election to the U.S. Senate, Democrat Tim Kaine said the election results show Virginia is still neither red nor blue, nor likely to become either.

Kaine narrowly beat Republican George Allen, while Virginia went--even more closely--for President Barack Obama. At the same time, Virginians re-elected eight Republican congressmen.

Kaine and Obama were propelled to victory by high turnout among black voters, Latino voters and Northern Virginians who are not aligned to either party.

The closeness of the vote--nearly 50-50 in both cases--shows an electorate that is dominated by independents, Kaine said.

"This statewide electorate is a true battleground electorate," Kaine said in a press conference Wednesday.

He pointed to Northern Virginia suburban counties such as Prince William and Loudoun as places where winners vary depending on the candidate and the issue, not the party.

"Many of those jurisdictions would not be red or blue, but they're open to persuasion," he said. "We've worked our way from the red zone to the purple. We're going to be in the purple for a while."

Kaine also credited his win to a positive, grassroots campaign, which he said voters preferred to the largely negative ads coming from outside third-party groups.

In his own post-election press conference, Gov. Bob McDonnell said Republicans need to expand their appeal to those voters.

He said the lesson from Tuesday night is that Republicans need to find ways to present their message in more positive, optimistic ways, and appeal to new voters, young voters and minority voters.

"It's clear to me the Republican Party has a lot of work to do," McDonnell said.

Stephen Farnsworth, a political science professor at the University of Mary Washington, said Kaine and Obama won in part because the Obama campaign mounted an aggressive ground game, and was "particularly effective at getting the people who would vote for them if they got to the polls, to the polls."

"The key factors in the Obama victory are high levels of African-American turnout, high levels of young adult turnout, high levels of Latino turnout and the persistence of the gender gap, particularly in suburban swing counties," Farnsworth said.

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