Democrats Take Their Convention Turn
Senate candidate Tim Kaine a speaker and part of Virginia's swing state delegation.
A group of 124 delegates will represent Virginia in Charlotte, N.C., as the 2012 Democratic National Convention gets under way Tuesday.
Virginia — along with Ohio, North Carolina and Florida — is considered a key swing state. Virginia, once a reliable Republican stronghold, went to President Barack Obama in 2008 — the first time the Old Dominion helped elect a Democratic president since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.
But this is not 2008, and political pundits say Virginia's 13 electoral votes are a tossup for 2012.
"It really does come down to 18 electoral votes in Ohio and 13 in Virginia, at least according to my calculations," Larry Sabato, head of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Sabato said he expects Virginia to receive the special treatment at this year's Democratic convention.
"I don't know what the floor plan is in Charlotte, but I'd be shocked if Virginia didn't have a prime spot," he said.
Virginia and Ohio also got sweet locations at last week's Republican National Convention in Tampa.
A few things to know about the convention:
Senate Candidate Tim Kaine is the only member of the Virginia delegation with a featured speaking role. Kaine is in a tough battle with George Allen (R) for Jim Webb's (D) U.S. Senate seat. Kaine will speak Tuesday between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.
Sen. Mark Warner delivered the keynote speech in 2008, but has no official speaking role at the 2012 convention. He will, however, be a featured speaker for numerous state delegations.
Former DNC chair and Northern Virginia businessman Terry McAuliffe is a member of the Virginia delegation and will also address the Virginia caucus.
For livestreaming of the convention, click here.
Along with Kaine, other featured speakers Tuesday include Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Newark Mayor Cory Booker. First Lady Michelle Obama, former president Jimmy Carter and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley.
Former president Bill Clinton will be a featured speaker Wednesday. President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will accept the party nomination in speeches Thursday.