Richmond, Va. (CNSNews.com) - Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie is expressing cautious optimism that the tight Senate race in Virginia may yet go to incumbent Sen. George Allen, whom Gillespie said had the edge over his rival when it came to issues like national security, illegal immigration and marriage.
Speaking at an Allen campaign function at a Richmond hotel before polls closed in the state Tuesday evening, Gillespie told Cybercast News Service the indications were good.
He said turnout of Republicans in GOP precincts appeared to have been higher as a percentage this year than in the 2004 presidential election.
Republican "intensity" had picked up over past fortnight - and opinion polls reflected that, he said. The GOP get-out-the-vote machine still had a significant edge, he added.
Gillespie said Virginia was "not really a purely red state anymore, but more purple" because of demographic shifts in Northern Virginia in particular.
As such, campaigns there had become more competitive than in the past, especially when Democrats put forward moderate candidates, like Webb.
Gillespie said Allen had to deal not only with the Webb campaign but also with a hostile press, and that while he may have beaten his Democratic rival, Allen had "fought The Washington Post to a draw."
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