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October 4, 2004
Kerry Abandons Virginia

In a jarring contrast to the triumphalism projected by Democrats after the debate last Thursday, the John Kerry campaign has abandoned Virginia to George Bush and will transfer the personnel to other states:

Sen. John F. Kerry's top campaign officials in Virginia have been reassigned to work in other states, effectively conceding the commonwealth to President Bush even as the Democratic presidential nomineerides a wave of momentum nationally from his performance in last week's debate.

Susan Swecker, the Kerry campaign's state director, and Jonathan Beeton, its press secretary, were scheduled to leave Virginia on Sunday night, Beeton said. Eighteen other campaign staff workers were sent to help elsewhere, leaving about 10 paid staffers in Virginia.

Some of the Virginia staff will wind up here in Minnesota and neighboring Wisconsin and Iowa, where Kerry is in danger of losing ground that Al Gore barely retained in 2000. Losing just one of the states would create an almost-insurmountable barrier to election, but all three would drive a stake through the heart of his campaign. No one doubts Kerry's need for more focus in the Upper Midwest, but after the supposed rebound he got from the debate, the retreat from the South surprises me.

After all, his selection of John Edwards as a running mate was intended to make Kerry politically viable below the Mason-Dixon line. One would expect that to be difficult in solid Bush country like Georgia and Alabama, but a lot of DC bureaucrats and policy wonks make their homes in Virginia. It's clear that Kerry thought he had a shot at carrying the state for Democrats for the first time since LBJ, but the summer's collapse apparently doomed his chances in Virginia.

The move calls into question the entire idea of Kerry momentum, especially so soon after his debate performance. It reveals a lot more caution about their momentum than their rhetoric does.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 4, 2004 5:40 AM

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» Poll Update - Post Debate from Secure Liberty
I put no stock in the weak Newsweek poll released earlier. It was wrong showing Bush up 13 and we all knew that, so when it showed Kerry up 2 yesterday, I could dismiss it. But now, Gallup says it's all tied up (h/t to Ace). I can't dismiss Gallup a... [Read More]

Tracked on October 4, 2004 8:17 AM

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