So, after another round of primary contests yesterday in the "Potomac Primary", Senator McCain has carried the conservative vote...in another blue state. McCain won handily overall in the three primary contests that were held yesterday in Maryland, Washington, DC, and my beloved Commonwealth of Virginia. True to form, however, he lost the conservative vote in Virginia.
Virginia is, of course, the only one of the the three...er...localities (DC isn't a state and, hopefully, never will be, although they do get 3 electoral votes), that McCain could conceivably carry in the general election. Maryland is a true blue state that hasn't voted for a Republican presidential candidate since George H.W. Bush's landslide in 1988 and doesn't have a single Republican to be found in a statewide office. The District of Columbia is the deepest of all blue...er...localities. They haven't voted for a Republican presidential candidate since...1956. That's right! Dwight D. Eisenhower was the last Republican that got the stamp of approval from the good folks in the District.
Virginia's electoral votes, on the other hand, haven't gone to a Democrat since 1964.
(Parenthetically, you'll hear a lot of commentators refer to Virginia as a "purple state" on the theory that it's becoming more liberal. I don't know that I buy that. Although Democrats have had a lot of electoral success in the last number of years, I think it has much more to do with the horrid candidates that the Republicans cranked out than some newly discovered appeal of liberal ideology. The last two candidates for governor were simply awful, George Allen is an idiot who never should have lost to Jim Webb (thanks, Macaca!), and dopey Jim Gilmore has no business running for retiring Senator John Warner's seat and will surely lose. The Republicans in the Commonwealth just need to retire the old guard and get some fresh blood.)
McCain did win the conservative vote in Maryland. There isn't any exit poll information for the District, but I don't think that any self-respecting conservative could actually live in the District, so let's just assume that the 5711 Republicans (there were over 100,000 Democratic voters) that voted there fall in the "moderate" camp.
So, this brings the grand total of states in which McCain has carried the conservative vote to...drum roll...4. New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and now Maryland. 4 states out of the 34 that have voted in primary contests so far, and all in states that he has virtually zero chance of carrying in the Fall.
But McCain's conservative problem is way overblown.