Virginia Democrats, who have watched a procession of national Republicans cross the Potomac for weeks in behalf of the GOP gubernatorial nominee, got some ranking congressional leaders to make the journey last night to aid the state's Democratic ticket.
In some respects, the message given to several hundred Young Democrats at the Springfield Hilton was the same as carried earlier by Republicans: The Virginia gubernatorial race will have ramifications far beyond the borders of the Old Dominion.
Rep. Albert Gore Jr. of Tennessee said the gubernatorial contest between Republican J. Marshall Coleman and Lt. Gov. Charles S. Robb will be "a bellwether. The result will be read as a sign of things to come all over the U.S. The vote transcends this particular race."
While nearly everyone agrees that the outcome will be viewed as a referendum on the Reagan administration, because the Virginia election is only one of two statewide races this year, not all of last night's national Democratic figures were in accord about how the party should respond to the Republican president.
Sen. Jennings Randolph of West Virginia, the senior member of Congress, delivered a fist-pounding tribute to the New Deal that brought cheers from the crowd. House Majority Leader Jim Wright of Texas also invoked the name of Franklin D. Roosevelt and praised traditional Democratic programs.
But Rep. Eugene Atkinson of Pennsylvania said he is a Democrat who supports the conservative tax plan favored by the Reagan administration.
Dan Alcorn of Fairfax, president of the Virginia Young Democrats, said the speakers, who also included Sen. Wendell Ford of Kentucky and Rep. Lindy Boggs of Louisiana, were invited to bring together liberal, moderate and conservative Democrats behind Robb.
The complete Democratic ticket of Robb, lieutenant governor nominee Richard Davis and would-be attorney general Gerald Baliles attended the event.