McLEAN, Va. -- There isn't a lot of nervous tension at the Democratic celebration at the Hilton in McLean, Va., just across the Potomac from Washington. In a brief speech to the crowd here, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine acknowledged John McCain's early lead around 9 p.m., and then dismissed it. "We know where those numbers are going and we know who hasn't reported." He meant Northern Virginia -- source of the late returns that put now Sen. Jim Webb over the top in 2006 -- and the purple Tidewater region in the southeast.
Brian Moran, chairman of the Democratic caucus in the Virginia House of Delegates, said the black vote will have played a "significant" role if Obama wins the state. Moran, who represents Northern Virginia's 46th District, spent the last several days campaigning in the belt of heavily African-American communities along the North Carolina border, areas with a high concentration of first-time voters, even if their numbers aren't big. The real influence of the black vote will come later tonight.
If the black vote ends up representing part of the margin in this state, that might also represent a neglected well of support for Virginia Democrats. Moran didn't like that line of reasoning. He said the Democrats' "message of opportunity for all" resonated with all Virginian voters, while the Republicans had been, he searched for the word, "inhospitable."