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Southside Virginia Sees Little Reason To Be Excited About Primary

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SOUTH HILL, VA. — The Tennessee and Virginia Democratic presidential primaries are just days away. The candidates, including North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, are campaigning hard.

But some voters in Southern Virginia see little reason to get excited about next Tuesday's primary.

You can travel throughout Southside Virginia and not see a single campaign sign for president -- no billboard or newspaper advertising, and definitely no candidates.

In fact, in South Hill, Frank Malone said the Museum of Dolls and the Model Railroad Museum are getting far more attention than Tuesday's Democratic primary.

"Around here, people are more concerned about the leash law and why the dog dug up my flowers, and why did I did find what I found in my driveway this morning," said Malone, of the South Hill Chamber of Commerce. "They don't like to talk much about who they are going to vote for for president."

But Ernest Morse, chairman of the Mecklenburg County Democratic Party, believes interest is beginning to grow -- especially in Edwards.

"We black folks been talking it up," Morse said. "They think he may be able to carry the South."

It does not seem to bother the voters in Southside Virginia that they are being ignored by the Democratic candidates.

"I've been watching what's been going on," said South Hill resident Denise Williams.

Edwards has said he needs a first-place finish in Virginia. He is counting on votes from every corner of the state, even from the rural areas his Virginia campaign is ignoring.

Edwards, front-runner John Kerry and Gen. Wesley Clark will share the stage Saturday night at the Democrats' annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner in Richmond, Va.

Former candidate Dick Gephardt said Thursday he will endorse Kerry.

The latest poll out of Virginia shows Kerry in the lead with 32 percent of the vote. Edwards and Clark are tied for second with 17 percent.

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