Get ready for 24 hours of Tom.
Virginia voters in a district that’s become ground zero for Republican hopes of winning back the House on Nov. 2 are about to get a whole lot of Rep. Tom Perriello as the vulnerable freshman Democrat does a full day of campaigning. He’ll even squeeze in a haircut.
Joined by top aides to Democratic leadership on Capitol Hill, Perriello on Monday will begin the nonstop campaign push with just over one week to go before he faces state Sen. Robert Hurt (R) on the ballot.
“You work hard. You deserve a Congressman who works hard too,” is the slogan for Monday’s events, which begin at midnight.
He will spend just over an hour swinging by Dudley’s Truck Stop in Rocky Mount on the Virgil H. Goode Highway, named for the father of the Republican Congressman Perriello defeated by fewer than 800 votes in 2008.
He may even milk a cow, since the schedule includes a 4:15 a.m. stop to “pitch in to help a dairy farmer at Mountain View Farms” in Chatham, Hurt’s hometown.
At 9 a.m., Perriello will get a haircut at the Elite Barber Shop in South Boston, an attempt at “sprucing him up for the last week,” according to an enthusiastic campaign release.
During the day, the Democrat will greet local diners, veterans, factory workers and small-business owners as he works his way across the central and Southside Virginia district. The schedule includes “a midnight study session with Ferrum college students.”
At 7 p.m., Perriello will debate longshot third-party candidate Jeffrey Clark, a tea partyer who has charged that Hurt attempted to cut him a deal to end his candidacy. Hurt isn’t attending the University of Virginia forum, a move that drew the ire of editorial boards across the state.
At 11:30 p.m., “Tom heads home to rest his weary head.”
His campaign even proposes a hashtag for tweeting about the day’s activities: “#24HoursOfTom.”
Stunts like this are common in the waning days of an election cycle. Former Sen. John Edwards did a 36-hour campaign marathon in New Hampshire as he attempted to gain traction among voters more interested in then-Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama in the state’s presidential primary.
But it’s an uphill battle for Perriello nonetheless. When he won his seat, the 5th district narrowly backed Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) over Obama, 51 percent to 48 percent. Hurt, a lawyer who has served in the state Legislature for eight years, is well-known and well-liked in the district.
Correction: Oct. 25, 2010
The article misstated whom the Virgil H. Goode Highway is named for. It is named for the father of former Rep. Virgil Goode.