The Campaign Spot

Former Warner Strategist Attributes Virginia’s Close Vote to . . . Racism

A statement from Ed Gillespie:

It’s a testament to our volunteers and their incredible efforts that we were outspent two-to-one and yet the most recent unofficial tally has us separated by less than a percentage point out of more than two million votes cast. Now we owe it to the voters of Virginia to respect the canvassing process that is underway to get an official result. We will be watching the results closely so that we can ensure Virginians have confidence in the accuracy of the results. It was an honor to run, and I will respect the decision reached by Virginia’s voters.

His campaign offers this “background”:

There are three stages of vote counting before there is an official tally in Virginia:

The precinct returns are counted and informally reported to the local electoral board In the days that follow, the local electoral boards meet to canvass the results, and rule on any provisional ballots. Provisional ballots are those votes cast whose validity has not been determined Each locality sends the results to Richmond, and likely on Nov. 25th, the State Board of Elections will meet to formally tally and announce the results A recount cannot be requested until after the State Board of Elections tallies and announces the results.

There are not automatic recounts in Virginia. If the vote difference is 1 percent or less, a candidate can ask for a recount. If the vote difference is 0.5 percent or less, the state will pay for a recount.

In the “appalling, yet predictable” file:

This year, the senator saw his support in rural Virginia drop off sharply. He had forged ties to Southside and Southwest even before he ran for governor, earning goodwill in the economically depressed regions as a job-creating entrepreneur. Dave “Mudcat” Saunders, a Democratic strategist who helped craft Warner’s rural strategy for his gubernatorial run 13 years ago, attributed that drop to antipathy toward the president, in part racially motivated.

“It breaks my heart to say it, because these are my people, but racism was a huge factor in this,” he said. “I think in many areas of rural Virginia, racism is still prevalent, and they dislike Obama more than they like Mark Warner.”

That’s the only possible reason rural Virginians could be souring on Mark Warner? Really? Racism drove white Virginians to vote against a white senator?

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