Breaking down the role of Southwest Virginia in the presidential race

Trump, Clinton battle it out in 2016's new social media landscape. (AP file)
Trump, Clinton battle it out in 2016's new social media landscape. (AP file)

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) – We are less than one month away from Election Day and Southwest Virginia continues to be a key focus in the race for the White House.

This week, Indiana Governor Mike Pence will speak at Liberty University and hold a town hall at the Salem Civic Center on Wednesday.

The second presidential debate marked another contentious battle between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

“Donald Trump demonstrated that he could prepare for a debate in a way that is effective,” said Dr. Ed Lynch, political analyst. “I thought he used the debate as a way to live to fight another day.”

While political jabs were thrown, Lynch said Clinton never delivered the knockout blow needed to end Trump’s campaign.

“Hillary Clinton had a chance to put her opponent away last night and she failed to do so,” he said.

The showdown came just days after a video from 11 years ago re-surfaced showing Trump using vulgar language about women. Lynch said incidents like this would hurt any campaign.

“Rightfully so, saying vile and rotten things about women should hurt a candidate,” he said. “On the other side, Hillary Clinton has also said rotten things about the woman who accused her husband.”

With flaws on both sides of the presidential race, the focus for undecided voter shifts to the vice presidential candidates. Lynch said Governor Mike Pence will play a key role in battleground states, which is why he is making return trips to areas like Southwest Virginia.

“If [Trump] is going to have any chance to win Virginia he has to get not only a majority vote, but a large majority,” said Lynch. “Mike Pence is an excellent ambassador for voters in this part of the state.”

On the other hand, Clinton would need a heavy turnout in areas like Northern Virginia and the Tidewater area. Lynch said in order to do so, Senator Tim Kaine must be himself.

“When Tim Kaine tried to be the attack dog for Hillary Clinton he didn’t do very well” said Lynch. “Tim Kaine’s greatest political asset is that he is perceived to be a nice guy.”

On November 8, it will be up to voters to decide which political team is the right fit for the White House.

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