According to The Washington Post, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner’s campaign officials anticipated the tight race between him and his Republican challenger, Ed Gillespie.
“We knew it was closer than most people knew,” said adviser David Hallock. “This race wasn’t going to be decided at 9 o’clock.”
Gillespie did not concede until three days later on Friday, as the race was decided by only 18,000 votes. This figure hardly compares to the 32 point margin of victory Warner had in 2008.
The Gillespie campaign saw boundless enthusiasm, and spokesman Paul Logan said, “We could definitely feel a wave building.”
That wave, however, wasn’t enough to push Gillespie to the Senate. The team did not have the numbers to back it up. The last poll taken by the campaign, three weeks prior to election day showed the former Republican National Committee Chairman trailing Warner by double digits.
Hallock and Logan both spoke to an audience at George Mason University. “The Warner campaign was largely successful,” commented Hallock, in projecting an “aura of inevitability” that prevented outside Republican groups from supporting Gillespie.
” We didn’t want to acknowledge that…the race was getting closer, even though we knew it, for fear of bringing outside forces and money and creating enthusiasm on our opponent’s side,”explained Hallock. He continued that success “created a kind of Catch-22 for us” that made it difficult for the Warner campaign to motivate Democrats to turn out to vote, resulting in the narrow victory.