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Tim Kaine, Mark Warner Excite Virginia Democratic Faithful

Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Tim Kaine’s Saturday speech focused on what he’s heard most from voters as he traveled Virginia over the past 10 months: the economy, fiscal responsibility and finding common ground in Congress.

Obama’s margin of victory in 2008 was identical nationwide and in Virginia, 53 percent to 46 percent, making it an emerging bellwether state. Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who gave the dinner’s keynote speech, told reporters, “Most of the world recognizes when the Virginia vote comes in it will decide whether Barack Obama is going to get four more years.”

Schweitzer compared the Virginia Senate race to the one in his home state between Sen. Jon Tester (D) and Rep. Denny Rehberg (R).

“Like this race in Virginia, 95 percent of Montana already knows how they’re going to vote,” Schweitzer said. “And it’s more or less tied.”

Virginia Democratic Reps. Gerry Connolly, Bobby Scott and Jim Moran all gave short speeches, followed by Sen. Mark Warner (D), who warmed up the crowd and urged attendees to wave their Kaine campaign signs. Warner said Democrats were successful in November’s state legislative elections along the Interstate 95 and 64 corridors, in the eastern and central parts of the state, but have work to do along Interstate 81 in the west and Highway 58 in Southside Virginia.

Warner also gave a shout-out to his friend Paul Hirschbiel, a businessman challenging Rep. Scott Rigell (R) in the most competitive district in the state. Hirschbiel’s campaign had one of 122 tables in the expansive, modern ballroom, as did former Clinton fundraiser Terry McAuliffe, who ran for governor in 2009 and is expected to run again next year.

Other tables were filled by companies, labor unions and local Democratic committees from cities and counties including Norfolk, Fairfax, Goochland, Arlington and Alexandria.

Kaine’s wife, Anne Holton, introduced the former governor. This is the first campaign the former judge has been allowed to publicly support her husband. State law prohibited Holton from campaigning for Kaine while serving as a juvenile court judge in Richmond.

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