The 2012 U.S. election race has been steadily heating up, and now that Mitt Romney has emerged as the frontrunner for the Republican party, the gloves are coming off of both campaigns.
One of the several U.S. battleground states for campaigning is Virginia.
For months, both Obama and Romney have been heavily campaigning in Va., but increased attention appears to be going to Northern Virginia, the region located just outside Washington, D.C.
Campaigns look at Northern Virginia
Puportedly, NoVa contains roughly between 28 and 33 percent of all Virginia's voters, depending on which campaign you ask and which borders are drawn. Fairfax County, with its over 1 million population, appears to be one key region for both campaigns.
Many analysts are saying Northern Virginia will play a role in who wins Virginia and its 13 electoral votes. Whether Old Dominion goes "blue" or "red" is too soon to say. Due to the uncertainty, both candidates are active in the DC suburbs. In NoVa we're inundated with ads, and Obama and Romney have been steadily making personal appearances in various communities. Both candidates have visited Fairfax County in recent months.
Obama has already visited several Northern Virginia towns, with a recent appearance on Aug. 2 in Loudoun County in Leesburg.
This weekend Romney has an appearance scheduled in Prince William County in Manassas, as he swings back into the area.
A closely divided region
WTOP, a D.C. news outlet, conducted a poll which showed Northern Virginia votes are closely split between Obama and Romney. The poll, done by Heart+Mind Strategies, showed 48 percent of voters in Northern Virginia intended to cast their vote for Obama, while 46 percent indicated their intention to vote for Romney.
"The difference falls easily within the poll's 4.17 percent margin of error," WTOP reported.
This poll seems to align with others conducted.
Northern Virginia 'epicenter' of battleground
Romney has been increasing his presence in Northern Virginia. Within the last month his campaign opened two new offices in Fairfax County; at time of publish it is unclear to this writer how many he has in total.
The McLean Patch reported Pat Mullins, chairman of the Virginia Republican Party, said at the opening of the new McLean office, "We're spending a lot of time in Fairfax. In order for Romney or Obama to win, they have to win Virginia."
"Virginia is a battleground," Mullins added. "Northern Virginia is the epicenter of the battleground."
Obama is reported to currently have two dozen campaign offices in the vicinity.
"While the Romney campaign has finally decided to join the party by recently opening offices in Virginia, we've been busy for years building on our historic grassroots effort that propelled the president to victory in the commonwealth in 2008," said Marianne von Nordeck, spokeswoman for Obama's Virginia campaign.
Both candidates have also raised millions in all of Virginia. The Virginia Public Access Project, a nonpartisan group, published a report in July which showed campaign donations. In Northern Virginia, Obama had raised $604,321; Romney $743,778.
Will Virginia go Blue or Red?
President Obama won Virginia in 2008 by seven percentage points; this was the first time a Democrat won in Virginia since 1964. It is said the voter margin is closer in 2012. Too soon to tell who will win Virginia, but according to many reports, Northern Virginia is one area both candidates would like to sway voters to cast ballots their way.
As it stands, Virginia appears to be "purple", and until either red or blue emerges as victorious, which candidate wins the state of Virginia in the 2012 presidential election is anyone's guess.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com