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Looks like Virginia is the “Florida” of 2006…

November 8, 2006, 7:15 PM

First of all, just let me say that it was a very challenging ride home from Washington DC last night, because of medium-to-heavy rain for much of the drive home, and wet conditions for the remainder.

However, it was all made more bearable by listening to election result coverage all the way home. On the first half of the trip, I listened on WETA (90.9 FM), Washington’s local National Public Radio (NPR) station. There, instead of the usual BBC World Service feed that they run overnight, we got live election coverage from NPR. On the second half of the return trip, since I finally lose WETA completely at Woodstock, I did a little channel surfing on the radio to continue the live election coverage. For those wondering, I can pick up the local NPR station out of Harrisonburg (WMRA 90.7 FM) from at least as far as Front Royal, but they play classical music during off-times, rather than continuous news and talk like WETA does. And I’m not interested in hearing classical music when I’m trying to stay engaged to drive. I ultimately picked up 750 AM, which is WSB out of Atlanta. I listened to them from Woodstock to Harrisonburg, when I finally switched to WSVA (550 AM) out of Harrisonburg, after I realized that WSB was spending more time on local Atlanta elections that I have no interest in whatsoever, than the races for Congress.

The NPR coverage on WETA was EXCELLENT. They know what they’re doing on there. I quickly found out what was going on before I’d even completely cleared Vienna: the Democrats carried the House of Representatives, and the Senate was still undecided with six races, including those in Montana and Virginia, considered too close to call. As I followed the election coverage through my long, rainy ride home, they, along with WSB and WSVA, were able to call four of them. By the time I arrived home, Montana was still too close to call, but leaning for the Democratic candidate, and Virginia was on a razor-thin margin, flipping back and forth between Allen and Webb. I learned that Allen’s supporters had already gone home with confidence, and Webb’s campaign had already declared victory a little bit after that.

Then when I got up today, it turns out that the Montana race was finally called for the Democratic candidate, leaving only one state still as a toss up: Virginia. And on the radio through the night, I’m told that they’ve already got the FBI investigating potential voting irregularities, so it should be interesting regardless of what the result is.

And this again serves as a reminder that every vote does indeed count (and why you should vote), because sometimes the candidates who get elected are elected on razor-thin margins. In that case, yes, you have a bazillion people voting. However, if only a few hundred or thousand votes put the candidate over the top, that’s no landslide. That’s a situation where a few votes can change the outcome. Every vote does indeed count.

And I think it’s interesting that the state that is the decider, which will determine if the Senate will be evenly divided or if it too will be carried by the Democratic Party, is the state that I’ve called home for the past fourteen years. Usually nothing surprising happens in Virginia races. But this one was a very negative campaign, which involved accusations of racism, anti-semitism, and sexism. Needless to say, this was not pretty. But the stakes are indeed high, as an evenly divided Senate means that the Republicans will maintain control via Vice President Dick Cheney’s tiebreaker role. If Virginia goes for Webb, then the Senate belongs to the Democrats by one seat. And according to the various people on the radio, they say it’s likely that this will go into a recount.

All I know for sure is that I voted for Webb, but looking at local election results on CNN, I am very much in the minority there, as Augusta County voted heavily for George Allen.

Web site: Wikipedia on the Virginia Senate election

Song: Theme to Rawhide

Quote: Also, just so you know, ballot initiative #1, the so-called "Marriage Amendment", about which I discussed my opposition to it here, passed with 57% of the vote. I'm quite disappointed with that 53% of the electorate...