The fight for Virginia is heating up between presidential contenders Barack Obama and Mitt Romney -- with a little help from their friends.
In the Republican corner, according to the National Journal, is Gov. Bob McDonnell, who has been instrumental in helping the Republican Governors Association more than double their fundraising for the 2008 McCain campaign, raking in an impressive $44 million.
Even so, it wasn't enough to match contributions by Obama's Virginia supporters in April, according to NBC Washington. The Obama campaign posted $483,000 in donations to Romney's $332,000.
It's not all about the money, though.
Nothing beats being face to face when you want to really connect with people. Obama brought out his big guns in Virginia last week, his most trusted advisor, wife Michelle. ABC reports that the first lady attended a rally at a VFW post in Dale City on Thursday, followed by a side trip to Mom's Apple Pie Co. in Occoquan. Putting aside her normally health conscious attitude toward nutrition, Obama exclaimed in delight at the selection of wines in the family-owned bakery, then purchased two pies for the first family.
Friend and potential VP pick, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, hit the campaign trial for Romney on Friday, with fundraising events in Virginia and Chicago.
Romney courted new friends in the world of small business when he kicked off his push for Virginia earlier this month with a fundraiser held at Exhibit Edge, a female-run business. In her introduction Romney's wife, Ann, left little doubt that the venue was selected specifically to appeal to women voters. "We appreciate all these women being here," she declared, "We know…how women actually do make the world go round."
The latest polls show Obama leading Romney in Virginia by 3 percentage points. However, this represents a decline in support for the president from the 2008 campaign, when he won the state by more than 6 percent. AP notes that Virginia went to George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, suggesting that there could be enough republican support to swing the state Romney's way, if the party can turn out the vote.
Romney is hedging his bets by reassigning Sara Craig, who's largely credited with engineering his Iowa caucus win, to Virginia.
So far, though, there's little evidence that Romney's attempts to win over women in Virginia has borne fruit. A Quinnipiac University poll released last week gives Obama the state by 5 percent. But Obama captures the female vote 51 to 35 percent. The poll reveals problems for Obama, as well. Virginian men favor Romney by 5 percent, and Obama's job approval rating as document by this poll can only be described as lukewarm at 48 percent.