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Kaine: State's neither red nor blue page 2
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.
Steve Helber/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Date published: 11/8/2012

continued

Republicans, he said, have reinforced the gender gap with an emphasis on social issues, like the controversial bill in the last General Assembly session to require women to get an ultrasound before an abortion.

Social conservatives do well in rural areas of the state, he said, but hold less appeal for voters in Northern Virginia.

"Trying to convince people to vote Republican in Northern Virginia does not depend on social conservative issues," Farnsworth said. "The key to successful Republican candidates in statewide elections, as McDonnell's [2009] campaign demonstrated, is to de-emphasize the social agenda and talk much more about issues of greater concern to people who will not be sold on a Christian conservative message."

Neither Allen nor Mitt Romney focused on social issues in their campaigns, emphasizing instead exactly what Farnsworth advises--an economic message.

But Farnsworth noted that some Republicans in other states made much-publicized missteps in speaking about abortion and rape.

Asked about those issues, McDonnell said it's no surprise to anyone that the Republican Party is pro-life. But when Republican candidates speak too stridently--such as candidate Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" comments--it undermines the pro-life message, McDonnell said.

Farnsworth said Allen didn't make any mistakes in his campaign--but he might have been hurt by some made by Romney's campaign, such as the widely publicized video of Romney speaking about 47 percent of the population, and by the Senate race being overshadowed by the presidential one.

So, Farnsworth said, he doesn't think Allen's loss means he's out of politics. After all, he said, Allen nearly won.

"The Republican Party would have been hard pressed to find somebody who could have made it closer" than Allen, Farnsworth said. "It seems to me, politically speaking, George Allen lives to fight another day."

Chelyen Davis: 540/368-5028
Email: cdavis@freelancestar.com


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