By the time Hurricane Sandy does her damage to Virginia, parts of the key battleground state could end up looking worse than an actual battleground.
The storm already has had the effect of blowing election-year politics into the background with just eight days to go until the Nov. 6 election. President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have scrapped Virginia campaign events. Obama had planned to stump with former President Bill Clinton in Prince William County today. Romney canceled Sunday events in Prince William, Richmond and Virginia Beach.
If the storm causes widespread damage and power outages across the state, will either candidate make another political trip here before the election?
Obama’s campaign announced this morning that Clinton will return to Virginia to stump for Obama, but no futher details were announced.
Gov. Bob McDonnell, a top Romney surrogate, said this morning on Fox News that he expects Romney to be back in Virginia before Election Day.
“There’s eight days left; this is a battleground state,” McDonnell said. “I certainly hope to see Governor Romney back a couple of times before we’re done. We have to win Virginia.”
The storm also has shut down campaigning for Senate candidates Tim Kaine and George Allen. The two former governors have canceled events for Monday and Tuesday. They also have asked supporters to take down their yard signs before Sandy’s fierce winds turn them into projectiles.
Gov. Bob McDonnell said Sunday that the state will ask local registrars to extend office hours after the storm passes so that voters will have sufficient opportunity to cast in-person absentee ballots.
– Michael Sluss