This office is the campaign’s 17th office opened in the state of Virginia, and its location in Blacksburg near Virginia Tech's campus was obviously no coincidence. Obama traditionally does well with young voters, and the size of the university offers a potentially large voter base to rope in support. Outreach to students in the area is expected to be a major priority for the office's leadership, organizers, and volunteers.
A startling demographic that was largely in attendance at the kickoff event were women supporters - women made up roughly 75 percent of the event attendees. I was introduced to Dianna Richardson, the "Women for Obama" Regional Coach for Virginia's 9th District, who had a lot to say about women's roles in this year’s election. As we approach November, it will become more and more evident that there is "a lot at stake" for women, specifically with regard to civil liberties and equal pay for employment.
This comes as no shock in Virginia, where just months ago a bill passed through state legislature that required women to undergo an invasive ultrasound procedure before having an abortion - a political blunder that induced outrage from women voters and infamously saw Gov. Bob McDonnell declare to the press that he "didn't read the bill." The bill was promptly sent back to legislators for alteration.
Obama is not alone in trying influence voters in Virginia. With his campaign in full swing, the Blacksburg office being, again, the 17th office opened since the Virginia push started about a month ago in Richmond, Mitt Romney is scheduled to make a series of campaign stops in Virginia as well, starting this week. This is following a small stretch of town hall event appearances in Chantilly and Portsmouth in early May, capped off by the nominee giving the commencement address at Liberty University.
Various state media outlets have called the Roanoke-Lynchburg area the top priority for both campaigns after Richmond, and Montgomery County, largely in part thanks to the large student population at Virginia Tech, follows close behind.
And as multiple polling aggregates have discovered, Virginia is one of the top states most likely to reflect the Electoral College turnout on election night. This, coupled with Virginia's newfound status as a critical swing state, will ultimately make Virginia an important battleground rivaling Ohio and Florida as election-defining states that neither candidate can afford to ignore.