As I expected, little has changed in Virginia.
The red places (most) are still firmly red and the blue places (few) are still blue. The Democratic Party enclave on the Potomac remains a beachhead but only that. Other than there, Deeds won among his neighbors in Bath and Allegheny Counties (a matter of courtesy), among black voters in traditional Democratic constituencies and in the little university community "islands" scattered across the state.
The Commonwealth remains reliably conservative in the bone deep attachment of the people to their own values, traditions and way of doing things. Moderation, moderation, moderation; that is the touchstone in Virginia politics.
The crazed preachers do not win statewide races here and neither do their proteges. The only serious threat to McDonnell's ascendancy was his bizarre association with Pat Robertson's university, but, on balance, he, and his family looked so familiar that people just overlooked that.
The Republican problem in Virginia in the past has been party apparatus driven candidate choices. That collection of the defeated and discredited have reflected the national party's dream of becoming a majority through "outreach" and the delusions of the country club crowd that runs the state's party apparatus rather than the clear preferences of those who vote in all those red, red counties. I have not forgotten the chilly reception that Earley received at the Republican convention in '01 in Richmond when he was nominated to run for governor against Mark Warner. He spoke with fervor of his beliefs. He spoke in half a dozen languages as he accepted the nomination. Lao, Spanish, Cambodian, etc. The crowd of delegates from all those red, red counties got quieter and quieter as he dug the "hole" deeper and deeper. I left the convention convinced that he would lose and he did.
The lesson that the Republican Party in Virginia should learn from all this is that "you have to go home with the one(s) who brought you to the dance." pl