Could Norfolk be the key to the White House?
- Credit: AP
Not Norfolk, England – Norfolk Virginia, where the US presidential primaries are being held this week.
It is part of the so-called 'super Tuesday' primary where several states will vote on the contenders in the presidential race.
Already presidential hopefuls have been wooing Virginia voters. Bernie Sanders – the Democratic candidate giving favourite Hillary Clinton a run for her money – turned up for a Norfolk rally last week.
Controversial Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has already dropped in, visiting Virginia Beach at Regent University last week, with another visit planned today.
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So how is the state, and particularly Norfolk, likely to vote?
Donald Luzzatto, editorial page editor of the news organisation The Virginian Pilot, said Norfolk had overwhelmingly voted for Democratic candidates in recent years although the region as a whole was more closely divided.
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'Virginia as a whole became a serious swing state in 2008, when it voted for a Democrat for the first time in a generation. We don't register by party in Virginia, so the words 'I'm a registered Republican (or Democrat)' is perhaps the surest sign that somebody isn't really a Virginian.'
And with the caveat that he is a 'terrible political predictor', Mr Luzzatto told us he would be surprised if Trump didn't do well in Virginia.
'His persona is a little out-of-keeping with our Southern manners, but I think the national mood is controlling here.'
He said Hillary Clinton was taking the region seriously.
'Bernie Sanders was in town last week. The crowd seemed to me largely young and enthusiastic.
'Hillary Clinton is coming to town on Monday [today] for her closing argument, which provides some insight into how seriously she takes Hampton Roads as a pivotal region. I suspect that she'll do well here, though the ambivalence about her candidacy is as clear here as it is elsewhere in the nation.'
And will people turn out?
'I am ashamed to say that turnout will almost certainly be smaller than it should be.
'The polling lines in 2008 and 2012 probably didn't help. Our primaries are open, so anybody can vote in any race. And the races aren't over, so perhaps I'll be wrong. I hope I am,' he added.
How do you think the American presidential election is shaping up? Email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk giving your full contact details.