The Other McCain

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VA-9: On the Campaign Trail With Republican Challenger Morgan Griffith

Posted on | October 30, 2010 | 4 Comments

ABINGDON, Va. — As I pointed out Friday in my American Spectator column, the 9th District of Virginia went 58% for John McCain two years ago and you might think it would be easy for a Republican to defeat a Democrat incumbent here — especially when the Democrat voted for the cap-and-trade bill that would devastate the region’s coal industry.

Well, if you think it’s easy, you’re wrong. There’s a reason this race is still rated a “toss-up.” Democrat Rep. Rick Boucher has been getting re-elected here for 28 years, he’s got an enomous fund-raising advantage over his Republican challenger Morgan Griffith and so Griffith has to do a lot of grassroots campaigning if he wants to have a chance to win on Election Day. Early Friday morning, I caught up with Griffith as he campaigned in Scott County and Lee County.

Griffith talks to Tommy Quillin, owner of Quillin Hardware in Gate City, near the Tennessee border. The Quillin family has owned the store on West Jackson Street since 1903, and he’s the third generation of his family to run the store.

Lee County courthouse in Jonesville. Located at the far southwest tip of Virginia, Lee County is nearer to the capitals of four other states than it is to the Virginia state capital in Richmond. For that reason, Lee County doesn’t usually get much attention from Virginia politicians. Yet as one local Republican official remarked Friday, Griffith has campaign here early and often.

A historic marker notes that Jonesville is on the historic trail pioneered by Daniel Boone through the Cumberland Gap, which is 35 miles to the west of Jonesville.

Griffith shakes hands with a local supporter after a get-out-the-vote rally at the Lee County Courthouse. The man in the middle is Jonesville mayor Greg Smith. (I wonder if there a Smithville with a Mayor Jones?)

Griffith is interviewed by the TV station WCYB following his rally in Jonesville.

At that rally, Griffith said, “Ladies and gentlemen, we are on the cusp of a historic election,” and said that if the 9th District goes Republican — ending 28 years of Democrat control — it will signal a “tsunami.” And he urged his listeners to talk to their friends and neighbors, to work the phones, and do everything they can to get every last vote on Tuesday.



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