Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) made the TV rounds Wednesday morning – and made a prediction that, come November, the Old Dominion will flip from blue to red.
“Is Virginia in play?” host Charlie Rose asked McDonnell during an interview on CBS’ “This Morning.”
“Absolutely,” McDonnell responded. “Poll came out yesterday had Romney up by 6. Others have it a little bit closer. But I certainly think it’s going to be competitive and I expect Romney to win. The last three election cycles in Virginia I won by 18, we’ve had other races Republicans have won. I think it’s tilting back to its right-of-center orientation.”
He added that while he expects Romney will win, “it’s going to take a lot of hard work.”
McDonnell, who is also chairman of the Republican Governors Association, announced his support for Romney in January and is frequently mentioned as a potential running mate for the former Massachusetts governor.
Just as it was in 2008, the swing state of Virginia will likely be a key
target of both parties this year. President Obama won Virginia four years ago with 53 percent to Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) 46 percent, and in the same year, Democrat Mark Warner bested Republican Jim Gilmore for the Senate by a whopping 31-point margin.
But in 2009, McDonnell won the governorship in a 17-point victory over state Sen. Creigh Deeds (D), and in 2010, Republicans picked up three House seats in the state. GOP members currently represent eight of Virginia’s 11 congressional districts.
The presidential race isn’t the only close contest in Virginia this year; former senator George Allen (R) and former governor and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine are locked in a tough battle to succeed retiring Sen. Jim Webb (D).
In Wednesday morning’s interview, McDonnell also took aim at Obama’s record on the economy, during both his three years as president as well as his four years as the junior senator from Illinois.
“I would say that certainly going into the race four years ago, people — it was well known President Obama was the most liberal member of the United States Senate,” McDonnell said. “I think he’s governed like that with more big government, whether it’s been health care, more taxes. He’s done virtually nothing to get us out of this crushing and unsustainable and really immoral debt, $16 trillion. His budget would get us to $25 trillion by 2021.”
Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said in a statement that contrary to McDonnell’s “fact-challenged claims, President Obama has cut taxes for every working family, reduced the size of the federal work force, and introduced a plan to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion.”
“On the other hand, we’ve seen what happens when Mitt Romney is in charge and it’s greatly at odds with his message of more jobs, less debt, and smaller government,” she said. “During his four years as governor, Massachusetts had the fourth-worst job creation rate of any state in the nation, debt increased by 16%, government jobs grew six times as fast as private-sector jobs, and taxes increased by $750 million each year.”