Although Virginia is an unquestioned priority for both campaigns, Washington politics may hand the state to Mitt Romney because mandated Defense Department cuts by Democrats may turn nearly 100,000 northern Virginia employees into angry anti-Obama voters:
With presidential contenders Barack Obama and Mitt Romney currently tied in the polls, the outcome of the November election is likely to be decided by how a handful of “swing” states vote. That will make a few densely populated counties in each swing state the main battleground for the fall campaign, and the most important will be Fairfax County in Virginia. In the case of Fairfax County, its 1.1 million residents represent one in seven of all Virginians, and so it bulks very large in the determination of which slate of electors will get the most votes. In 2008, candidate Obama attracted 310,000 votes in Fairfax, which was more than his margin of victory in the state. No other county in the state contributed even a third of that number.
When last year’s Budget Control Act mandated cutting half a trillion dollars out of Pentagon spending over the next ten years, officials were able to find most of the required cuts by simply scaling back the administration’s planned increases to military budgets in future years. In the past, progressive administrations have not been noted for raising military outlays as overseas conflicts wound down. However, only half of the defense cuts mandated by the budget law have begun to take effect, and now another half trillion dollars in cuts is poised to trigger on January 2, cutting the Pentagon’s base budget by ten percent in fiscal 2013 and subsequent years. Studies indicate that Virginia will be hit harder than just about any other state, with 87,000 jobs disappearing in 2013 and 115,000 in 2014. Reporter Patrick O’Conner warned in the Wall Street Journal on July 9 that the prospect of widespread layoffs in the military-industrial complex “could undercut Mr. Obama in battleground states heavily dependent on military spending, particularly Virginia.”
Which brings us back to Fairfax County. Nobody seriously believes that Romney can carry a county that went over 60 percent for Obama the last time around. There are too many government workers and liberals in the county for that to happen. However, with hundreds of thousands of northern Virginians worried about their defense jobs in a second Obama Administration, it is quite possible Obama will receive less votes in the county — maybe enough less so that Romney can accumulate a majority statewide, winning Virginia’s 13 electoral-college votes.