By Jeremy Herb
The Republican push to win Virginia by campaigning hard against defense cuts did not pay dividends on election night.
Both Mitt Romney and former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) lost in Virginia Tuesday in toss-up races, after making looming defense cuts a big part of their campaigns in the military-heavy state.
Romney first attacked Obama for a potential $1 trillion cut to the military when he came to the state in July, and he continued to make the defense pitch to Virginia voters through his final rallies in the state.
Allen also attacked Kaine over the defense cuts, releasing ads focused on the military reductions and going after him for supporting sequestration during debates.
The Obama administration outlined $487 billion in cuts over the next decade as part of the Budget Control Act, and another $500 billion in reductions are looming if sequestration takes effect.
Romney, Allen and Republicans tried to blame Obama for the potential sequestration cuts, which would take effect Jan. 2 and will be a major agenda item in the lame-duck session of Congress.
Republicans argued that Obama was willing to cut the military in order to win tax increases.
Obama fought back against the Republican attacks on defense by accusing Republicans of protecting tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of the military.
At the third debate, Obama declared simply that sequestration would “not happen,” an outcome that is far from clear at this point.
A CBS News exit poll in Virginia showed Romney was still ahead with those who served in the military 55-44, but that margin was not enough for him to take the state.