Barack Obama will campaign through the same Appalachian hamlets, hills and hollows on Thursday that thoroughly rejected him in his primary bid against Hillary Clinton.
He’ll start with a town hall meeting in Bristol, a small community on the Virginia-Tennessee border and the hometown of the legendary half-mile NASCAR track. From Bristol, the campaign will race up I-81to Abingdon, where Rep. Rick Boucher has his campaign offices. Boucher, you might remember, was an ardent support of Obama even as his district gave Clinton a walloping 30 point victory.
From Abingdon, he’ll turn west and hop over Clinch Mountain — yes, that’s the same mountain that gave its name to Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys, the band that campaigned for former Gov. Mark Warner — to Castlewood where he’ll stop at the United Mine Workers office.
A few questions:
- Will Jim Webb make an appearance? He has a family in nearby Buchanan County, where he beat George Allen with 55 percent and where Obama cobbled only nine points against Clinton.
- Where’s Mudcat and what’s he going to be doing?
- Will the Woods Brothers or maybe Ward Burton shoot up U.S. 58 from South Boston to stop by Bristol?
- Will there be an sighting of the Bluegrass Brothers, a band that once reminded voters that “Mark Warner is a good ‘ol boy, From up in NoVA-ville. He understands our people, The folks up in the hills.”
- And most importantly, can Obama make amends with the folks up in the hills?
After leaving Bobcat Country, Obama flies up to Prince William County outside of Washington for an appearance at Nissan Pavilion. The venue is about 45 minutes outside D.C. (allocate an hour and a half for a summer Jimmy Buffett show) and is classic exurbia. It’s right in the thick of what the Washington Post has described as the “Ring of Fire” of home foreclosures. Classic Applebee’s America.
It’s also chock full of young independent voters and is the kind of county that Obama needs to win if he hopes to take the Old Dominion’s 13 electoral votes in November — especially is Appalachia decides that they’re not ready for the skinny black kid from Chicago with a funny name.
Virginia Democratic Electoral Map (Dave Leip’s Atlas) — Hillary Clinton is red; Barack Obama is green.
Obama’s June, 5 Campaign Stops