With states such as Ohio and Tennessee billed as the real battleground territories in the GOP presidential race, Virginia’s Super Tuesday will be pretty lackluster in comparison.
In short, it’s because only two candidates are on Virginia’s ballot, vying for 49 available delegates in a state that’s usually an attention-getter in the primaries.
Some Virginians are miffed.
“We could’ve been a contender,”University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “Now, it’s just about Ohio. That’s what the ballot process cost Virginia: a lot of attention.”
Less attention translates to fewer visits from candidates. Since Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum failed to meet ballot requirements, only Ron Paul and Mitt Romney will be on the ballot. They’ve each visited Old Dominion once in the past 30 days.
Ohio’s gotten 13 visits from Rick Santorum and seven visits from both Romney and Gingrich.
(However, President Obama will be visiting Virginia on Friday, three days after the state’s primary.)
Even if Virginia won’t be a major player in this year’s Super Tuesday, journalists are still fascinated by the “split personality” state, which Obama won in 2008 and which swung into Republican territory in 2010.
More on this from Al Jazeera’s Rob Reynolds:
More insight from The Fix: “This is the oddest contest of the day, because it pits Romney against Paul, one-on-one. Santorum and Gingrich (along with every other candidate who was in the race) didn’t qualify for the ballot, leaving Romney and Paul to duke it out. Assuming Paul doesn’t shock the world by actually competing with Romney here, Romney should be able to lock up all of the state’s 49 delegates by winning the statewide vote and each congressional district.”