‘It is Virginia that Turned the Senate Blue’

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Shortly after George Allen conceded yesterday, shifting the balance of power in the Senate, Jim Webb appeared before supporters in Clarendon, Virginia, raising his son’s combat boots in the air, which he’d worn throughout his hard-fought race.

“We have a much, much stronger Democratic Party,” Webb told supporters.

Webb also told supporters he would vote soon on increasing the minimum wage and would address the war on Iraq in the approach he outlined throughout his campaign, calling for the withdrawal of American troops in Iraq, where Webb’s son, a marine, is currently serving, and joint diplomatic talks with nations in the region. “I think people care about [Iraq] and that’s one of the things that you saw in the election,” Webb said. An Associated Press exit poll found the majority of moderates and independents in Virginia voted for Webb, influenced largely by his stance on the war in Iraq.

At the rally, there was quite a bit of jubilation and perhaps some disbelief at the fact that Webb’s victory had clinched the Senate for the Democrats.

Supporter Tom O’Brien was impressed with the contribution of volunteers to Webb’s campaign. “Just the fact that they had that much dedication and that he was able to get this far is pretty unusual,” said O’Brien.

The election’s first Virginia-wide poll found incumbent Senator George Allen ahead by 16 points in late July. Webb campaign volunteer S.R. Sidharth has been credited with turning the campaign in Webb’s favor after George Allen called the young man of Indian descent ‘macaca’ in August.

“It is Virginia that turned the Senate blue,” Chuck Schumer, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, told supporters at the rally.

— Caroline Dobuzinskis

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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