Election 2012: Henrico County a bellwether in critical battleground …
Marc Fleming, who lives in eastern Henrico County, is beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel that has been the recession.
Fleming, who works for a painting contractor, plans to support President Barack Obama this fall.
“When he first came into office, man, things were really bad,” the Varina resident said, noting that business has picked up and he’s back to working 40 hours a week. “As long as it’s building and it’s working, let it continue. Give him another four years.”
Bill Kelly, who lives in western Henrico, where he runs a martial arts business, plans to vote for Republican nominee Mitt Romney, or more accurately, against Obama.
“I would basically take anybody but who’s in there right now,” Kelly said. “I think everything they’re doing is wrong, basically. Just the whole premise of big government, the welfare state, ‘let’s spend a whole bunch of our children’s money, get in debt.’”
Fleming and Kelly reflect the dual nature of Henrico County, which has emerged as a bellwether in a critical battleground state that could determine the outcome of the presidential election.
In large part because of the county’s influence, the Richmond area is among the regions where the battle for Virginia’s 13 electoral votes is expected to be decided.
Last week, the Richmond-Petersburg area was the top media market in the nation for advertising in the presidential election by the Obama and Romney campaigns and outside groups.
In recent years, the former conservative stronghold of Henrico has shifted from a dark red to pure purple, reflecting the demographic and attitudinal shifts that have put Virginia at the center of the Obama-Romney battle.
When Henrico reversed course in 2008 and voted for Obama after decades of picking Republican presidential candidates, so did Virginia, marking the first time a Democratic presidential candidate won the state since President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. The following year, the county swung back, backing Republican Bob McDonnell for governor.
But Henrico’s political volatility goes back a bit further. In 2005, the year after the county helped keep President George W. Bush in the White House, the county voted to put Democrat Timothy
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