Virginia Election Offers GOP Pointers on How to Win

By John Dillin, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, November 4, 1993 | Go to article overview

Virginia Election Offers GOP Pointers on How to Win


John Dillin, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


VIRGINIA ranks only 36th in crime nationally, but Republican George Allen rode a wave of concern here about murders, robberies, and car-jackings to build a huge victory in his race for governor against Democrat Mary Sue Terry.

Mr. Allen, a former congressman, demonstrated once again that in skillful hands, the crime issue works wonders for Republican candidates, says Robert Holsworth, a Virginia political scientist.

"Increased violent crime is ... almost made-to-order for Republicans, who have the image of being tough," says Dr. Holsworth, who teaches at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Allen won by a surprising 58 percent to 41 percent margin, partly by promising to abolish parole for violent criminals. Democrats' efforts to paint Allen as a captive of the religious right, and particularly the Rev. Pat Robertson, apparently failed.

Political scientist George Grayson says Allen's huge victory also can be attributed to this state's long recession, which will confront the incoming governor with a $500 million budget deficit for 1994.

Dr. Grayson, who wears two hats as a Democratic delegate to the Virginia General Assembly and a professor at the College of William and Mary, says the Old Dominion is being hammered by the loss of government spending after the cold war.

Virginia ranks near the top nationwide in both military spending (the Pentagon is here in Arlington), and nonmilitary federal expenditures - and Washington is cutting back on both. …

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