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Virginia Among Key States in US Presidential Election


In the final five weeks of the U.S. presidential election campaign, President Barack Obama and challenger, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney are focused on a handful of so-called "battleground states" that likely will decide the election. One of those states is Virginia, which the president won four years ago.

As it was in 2008, Virginia is one of a handful of states that could tip the election on November 6. Activists already are working hard on behalf of Democrat Obama and Republican Romney.

Suzanne Curran is a conservative activist who lives in the picturesque Shenandoah Valley, an area that traditionally supports Republican candidates.

“I just don’t want Obama any more. I want his policies, his commissions, all of his goals, eliminated. I don’t care who he is. I don’t like how he is governing and destroying, in my mind, destroying our country,” she said.

Republican presidential nominee, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney addresses the audience at a rally with the GOP team at the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach, Virginia, September 8, 2012.

Republican presidential nominee, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney addresses the audience at a rally with the GOP team at the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach, Virginia, September 8, 2012.

Curran said that if the president wins a second four-year term, she would urge Republicans in Congress to try to remove Obama from office through impeachment.

So far, however, there is no indication that Republican congressional leaders would support such an effort.

The anti-Obama intensity among conservatives appears to be matched by support for the president in places like Charlottesville, Virginia, home of the University of Virginia.

The campus is a stronghold for the Obama campaign, and volunteers are busy trying to register students in advance of the election.

“I think also he has prioritized the young people," said James Schwab, President of the University Democrats group. "He’s made college loans more affordable. He’s expanded the Pell Grant program. And with health care, he’s made sure we can stay on our parent’s [health insurance] plans until we are 26 [years old],” he said.

Schwab and other young Democrats said they are excited because they will vote in their first presidential election.

“It will be the first time that most of us have voted in the presidential elections, so that will be a new experience for all of us," he said. "And we’ve had great turnout at our events, and we’ve been doing a lot of campaign work for the president.”

The Obama campaign has a slight lead in Virginia, says Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.

“The results in Virginia may very well be a bellwether for the national race, and that is why Virginia is so important," he said. "Also, as one of the few competitive states, it is one of the states that really could go either way potentially in the presidential race.”

Four years ago, Obama made history in Virginia when he became the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the state since President Lyndon Johnson in 1964.
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    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

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