Caitlin Huey-Burns | In Va., Kaine and Allen Seek Elusive Ticket-Splitters

RICHMOND, Va. — Mary White, a retired guidance counselor from Northumberland, Va., drove an hour and a half from her home in the state’s northern neck to attend a Mitt Romney rally near Richmond, arriving early to snag a seat. White is eager to vote for the Republican presidential nominee on Tuesday — she points with pride to a Romney pin on her right lapel — but when asked whom she will support in the U.S. Senate race there, she pauses to think.

“I’m not too particular about which one wins. I think [Tim] Kaine would do just as well as [George] Allen,” she says, referring to the Democratic and Republican candidates, respectively. Asked whether she saw differences between the two men, both former governors of the state, White wrinkles her nose. “Not a whole lot. I like [Kaine] more as a man than Allen. Both have been good as governors.”

Conventional wisdom over the course of this race has suggested that Kaine’s and Allen’s fates depend on how the tops of the two tickets perform here. But after five debates, nearly $60 million in spending by both the candidates and outside groups, and with more ads on air that can be reasonably absorbed, the Senate race appears to have some fluidity. In the final weekend of the campaign, the opponents are still appealing to a small sliver of the electorate that may be firm in their presidential picks but unsure about the down-ballot race. According to polling data and interviews with campaign strategists, these voters are more likely to be independent Romney backers.


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