Eighteen years ago, Mark Warner found himself in a similar situation as his challenger Ed Gillespie is in now, recalls The Richmond Times-Dispatch.
In 1996 Mark Warner lost a race challenging Republican Sen. John W. Warner by 5 percentage points, but this close race allowed Mark Warner and his supporters to remain confident that he had a future in Virginia politics.
Analysts are hinting that the close race between Warner and Gillespie may result in Gillespie having a similar future after losing by fewer than 17,00 votes.
Gillespie’s success energized the state’s Republican party who had lost four straight senate races, two straight presidential elections and suffered a Democratic sweep in 2013 for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.
Gillespie’s little financial support from outside of Virginia, lack of experience in running for elected office and no name recognition made it even more surprising that he almost defeated Warner, who had previously enjoyed the luxury of being polled as Virginia’s most popular politician.
Ed Gillespie’s success in his campaign against Warner leaves him poised to have a second act. He now will have his “first pick” if he decided to pursue the Republican nomination for governor in 2017 or to take on a race against U.S. Sen. Timothy Kaine (D) in 2018.