This item has been updated.
As The Fix reports this morning, the Republican National Committee has identified Virginia as one of nine states that President Obama flipped to Democratic control in 2008, but may have difficulty capturing again in 2012.
With Obama visiting Northern Virginia Community College Wednesday, RNC political director Rick Wiley issued a memo arguing that Obama’s “path to re-election must go back through those states, but his prospects there are far from certain. In only two-and-a-half years, his position in those states, and in many others, has deteriorated dramatically, and Republican strength is in plain view.”
Wiley’s memo notes that in Virginia, “Republicans regained the governorship and control of the House of Delegates in 2009 and picked up three U.S. House seats in 2010.” That followed a 2008 cycle in which Obama won and Democrats gained four House seats, and both parties have arguments to make about which past election 2012 will most resemble.
Wiley also contends that Republican gains in those states will force Obama’s team to “make very difficult decisions about which path to take in 2012.” But there is every indication that Democrats intend to compete fiercely in Virginia again next year, especially since the state will also host a marquee Senate race — likely between ex-governors Timothy M. Kaine (D) and George Allen (R).
Brad Woodhouse, spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, said his party felt good about Obama's chances in the state next year. "Voters in Virginia and elsewhere will have a chance to compare the President’s record—15 straight months of private sector job growth, turning the American automobile industry around and putting our economy on the road to recovery — and the priorities of the Republican Party which boil down to wanting to end Medicare so they can provide tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires," Woodhouse said. "Faced with that, we’re confident which choice voters will make."
Wiley’s full memo is after the jump.
to: Interested Parties
from: Rick Wiley, RNC Political Director
re: Path to Victory: 2012 Political Map
date: June 8, 2011
President Obama won the 2008 election by flipping nine states George W. Bush carried in his 2004 re-election. His path to re-election must go back through those states, but his prospects there are far from certain. In only two and a half years, his position in those states, and in many others, has deteriorated dramatically, and Republican strength is in plain view. In total, the nine states that moved from George W. Bush to President Obama – Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia – saw one US Senate seat, four Governorships, seven State Legislative chambers and 19 US House seats move from the Democrat to the Republican column during Barack Obama’s term in office, with none of the aforementioned moving in the opposite direction.
-- In Indiana, a state that hadn’t previously voted Democrat in a Presidential election since 1964, Republicans picked up a US Senate seat and two US House seats in 2010, regained control of the State House and added to their majority in the State Senate.
-- In Virginia, another state that hadn’t previously voted Democrat in a Presidential election since 1964, Republicans regained the Governorship and control of the House of Delegates in 2009 and picked up three US House seats in 2010.
-- In North Carolina, a state that before 2008 had last voted Democrat in 1976, Republicans picked up both chambers of the State Legislature and a US House seat in 2010.
-- In Ohio, Republicans held the US Senate seat, regained the Governorship and control of the State House, picked up five US House seats, and picked up three state constitutional offices – Attorney General, Treasurer, and Secretary of State.
-- In Colorado, Republicans gained control of the State House, picked up two US House seats and picked up two state constitutional offices – Secretary of State and State Treasurer.
-- In Nevada, Republicans held the Governorship and gained a US House seat.
-- In Iowa, Republicans regained the Governorship, the Iowa State House and picked up the office of Secretary of State.
-- In Florida, Republicans held the Governorship and a US Senate seat while picking up four US House seats, the office of Chief Financial officer and adding to their majorities in both chambers of the State Legislature.
-- In New Mexico, Republicans regained the Governorship, picked up one US House seat and picked up the office of Secretary of State.
While Republican gains during Obama’s tenure will not alone ensure victory in 2012, they should give President Obama’s campaign team pause and force them to make very difficult decisions about which path to take in 2012. One thing is certain; Republicans have proven every one of these states is winnable for our 2012 nominee. President Obama will be playing defense on a very wide playing field, and all of the new Republican players elected since Obama’s inauguration will be standing in his way.