In Virginia, candidates for statewide and local offices are wooing the Commonwealth's nearly 50,000 Arab American voters. At the Marriott Hotel in Vienna approximately 200 Arab Americans work their way through dinner as the candidates take to the microphone. It's the Arab American Institutes' annual Virginia Candidates Night.
"In some districts, local districts, local delegate districts, magistrate's districts, we can actually make it or break it," said Saba Shami, co-founder of the Arab American Democratic Caucus.
His counterpart is David Ramadan, co-chair of Virginia's Arab American Republican Caucus. Ramadan says core Republican values such as entrepreneurism coincide with the values of his community. But he acknowledges his party must overcome the negative feelings eight years of Republican foreign policy created. "What we're hoping is make sure they understand that we're looking at here are taxes, we're looking at here is transportation, we're looking at here are schools. All the issues that they're dealing with on the kitchen table with their families every day."
The evening's headliners are the gubernatorial candidates. Democrat Creigh Deeds makes an impassioned address. "Virginia is stronger of our diversity. We are all sons of immigrants, sons and daughters of immigrants."
Congressman Tom Davis represented Republican Bob McDonnell. "Salamalekom. Proud to have you as the fabric of our society here in Northern Virginia."
Some polls suggest Arab Americans favor Democratics by 37 points.
Mana Rabiee reports...