Moderates Celebrate Mark Warner’s New Leadership Positions

Last Friday Senate Democrats announced that Mark Warner is to be named policy development adviser at the Democratic Policy and Communications center, an advisory group headed by Sen. Chuck E. Schumer (N.Y.), reports The Washington Post. The announcement was initially delayed due to holiday timing and policy concerns.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) promotion to a similar position two weeks earlier was met with great enthusiasm, but the announcement of Warner’s new post was announced in a much more quiet fashion. Aides stated that the plan to promote Warner had been in the works after a three-hour post-election caucus meeting where several moderate Democrats did not vote for Majority leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.).

Despite the quiet announcement the day after Thanksgiving, moderate Democrats rejoiced at the announcement.

“We know he will be a great voice for business,” remarked Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.).

However, some of the more liberal observers took the decision as a betrayal of the party.

A blogger from liberal site Daily Kos called Warner a ” Wall Street Shill, and right-wing defector.” Salon writer Luke Brinker said of the Senator, “The Warren wing of the party may be exceedingly passionate and engaged, but let’s not delude ourselves into thinking that it’s carrying the day.”

After the election, where Democrats lost eight Senate seats, leadership of the party remains the same. Instead, they are using the approach of expanding their team to include moderates like Warner and Warren as well as John Tester from Montana, a red state, and Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota.

“The thing that leadership has done very well is Warner, Tester, Klobuchar, Warren, adding them, adding that to the leadership team,” remarked fellow Democratic Virginia senator Tim Kaine. He added that he did not see the decision as a matter of trying to balance ideologies.


Warner Campaign Knew Race Would Be Close

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.

What Does the Close Senate Race Mean for the Future of Virginia Politics?

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.


After Long, Hard-Fought Race Gillespie Concedes

The Washington Post is reporting that Ed Gillespie will not be pursuing a recount in the close race between himself and U.S. Sen. Mark Warner as he conceded defeat Friday.

The race between Warner and Gillespie was surprisingly close as Gillespie enjoyed a wave a Republican enthusiasm that aided in the flip of control of the Senate. Gillespie capitalizes on voter unhappiness with the current legislators in Washington and was able to group Warner in with the insiders.

While Warner claimed Victory Tuesday night, Gillespie help off until the continuing canvass of votes across the state showed that he was further behind than he was on election night. Gillespie also said that he and Warner had a “nice conversation” on Friday morning.

“This obviously was a hard-fought race, and I’m proud of the campaign we have run and I loved every minute of it,” said Gillespie to supporters at a Springfield Banquet Hall. He then added with a laugh, “Well maybe not this one so much.”

Warner commended his challenger for a “hard-fought campaign” and said that he plans to focus his second term on reducing the deficit and avoiding further budget cuts do to sequestration.

Warner’s Campaign Lawyers Finds No Basis for Recount

Sen. Mark Warner’s attorney for his reelection campaign stated Wednesday that there is not a basis for a recount in Virginia’s Senate race, reports The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

In a press call Marc Elias, chair of the Perkins Coie political law practice told reporters recounts “really only happen where you are talking about dozens or a few hundred votes separating the candidates.”

The Associated Press has yet to call the election for Warner. As of Thursday all but one of the 2,557 precincts in the state are reporting and Warner leads his Republican challenger Ed Gillespie by more tan 16,000 votes. This leaved Warner with 49.2 percent of the vote, Gillespie has 48.4 percent and Libertarian Robert Sarvis has 2.4 percent.

There is no provision in Virginia law for an automatic recount. Since Gillespie is within 1 percentage point he has ten days to request a recount.


Warner-Gillespie Surprises Pollsters

According to The Richmond Times-Dispatch Tuesday’s midterm elections proved to be unpredictable, even to the pollsters who are supposed to know it best.

This included in the close U.S. Senate race between incumbent Democrat Mark Warner over his Republican challenger Ed Gillespie. As of Wednesday evening Warner led by a mere 16.727 votes out of the 2 million cast. This does not coincide with the comfortable lead that pollsters had projected.

A polled from Christopher Newport University taken one week before the election concluded that Warner had a lead over Gillespie 51 to 44.

Experts said that the results reflect Virginia, a state with an electorate who is subject to quick swings because of their substantial amount of independent and undecided voters.

Peter Brown, a pollster from Quinnipiac University referred to it as “wave” election. He said that “There was a Republican wave Tuesday night.” Brown also added that there is not law of averages in politics. He also noted 2006 as being a wave election for Democrats, when the party won all of the close races.

Could the Senate Race See a Recount?

The Washington Post is reporting that late Tuesday evening U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D) announced his victory over Ed Gillespie (R) after a remarkably close battle. The closeness of this race is projected to hurt Warner’s image as a strong force in Virginia politics.

“It was a hard-fought race. It went a little longer than we thought,” commented Warner, adding “I’ll work with anyone – Democrat, Republican, Independent, you name it -if we’re going to make sure we get out country’s problems fixed.”

As of early Wednesday, all the precincts had reported that Warner had 49 percent of the vote and Gillespie had 48.5 percent. The numbers are so close that Gillespie has declined to concede the race.

“Obviously we are going to accept whatever is the final outcome,” stated Gillespie, “But I owe it to the Voters of Virginia, owe it to all of you, to make sure that the outcome is final before we make any final decisions on this end.”



Gillespie Harnesses Last Minute Momentum

The Washington Post is reporting that at a rally yesterday morning Republican Senate candidate Ed Gillespie declared that momentum was on his side as the underdog seeks to unseat the incumbent, Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Warner.

“I honestly believe we overtook him this weekend and that tomorrow we’re going to surprise a lot of experts in Washington, D.C. and have a big, big day,” remarked Gillespie at a Republican campaign office in the Richmond suburbs, where supporters congregated to help him kick off his last push before the polls opened today.

In a last-minute appeal to voters leaning toward the Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis, Gillespie said he more closely reflects their views that Warner.

Gillespie is a former White House adviser, lobbyist and Republican National Committee chairman and is making his first bid for office by challenge Warner, a former Democratic Governor running for his second term. While Warner has a reputation as Virginia’s most popular political figure, Gillespie is challenging him in a year where President Obama’s low approval ratings have nationally had a negative impact on Democrats.

“You can feel the momentum,” Gillespie remarked. “We’ve been seeing big crowds and energy and enthusiasm everywhere we go…You can just feel it on the ground. At the end of the day it’s the votes that matter. And it’s the energy, and the intensity and the enthusiasm. hard work beats big money every time. And we’ve got a hard working group of volunteers. We call it the G-Force, a volunteer army who are truly energized and excited about this campaign. I honestly believe we’re going to win this race and make a big impact on the country we love.”

Warner Fights to Maintain Lead

Sen. Mark Warner D-Va., and his Republican challenger Ed Gillespie have finished their final debates and are taking their campaigns to the airwaves as the polls show the race between the two closer than ever, reports The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The candidates also filled their final weekend to campaign with high profile supporters. Warner had events with Sen. John W. Warner, the Republican who held his Virginia senate seat for 30 years; Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Attorney General Mark Herring, former Rep. Rick Boucher D-9th, and Sen. Joe Manchin D-W.Va.

Wife of 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Ann Romney, will also make a stop in Virginia Monday  in support of Gillespie and Barbara Comstock, the 10th District Congressional candidate.

A poll released last week by Christopher Newport University showed the narrowest margin between Warner in Gillespie, with Warner leading 51 to 44 percent. 3 percent of candidates were undecided and 2 percent were voting for the Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis.

Warner is asking Virginians to vote him in for a second term. However, after Warner was drug into a scandal involving the resignation of former state Sen. Phillip Puckett D-Russell, Gillespie has been experiencing increasing support.

Latest Poll Shows Virginia Senate Race with Seven Point Gap

A new poll is showing that U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner is leading Republican opponent Ed Gillespie by a mere 7 points, with less than a week before the midterm elections, reports The Washington Post.

The survey conducted by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University shows that Warner (D) is leading Gillespie by a 51 to 44 margin. Only two percent of those surveyed chose the Libertarian Candidate Robert Sarvis.

Since the last poll on Oct. 7, Warner has not lost support; however, Gillespie support has grown as the pool of voters who were supporting Sarvis and who were undecided has shrunk.

More competition in the race has been consistently shown by polls as the election draws near, and this one finds that Gillespie is closer than he was on any of the previous surveys.

Warner still maintains a solid lead that would be hard for Gillespie to overcome with such a short time left. Warner remains more popular with Democrats than Gillespie is with Republicans, and he also wins the majority of independents and self-described moderates.

“The Warner advantages…that he was in a strong position within his own party, had a solid toe-hold with Republicans, and had a good position amongst ideological moderates-seem to have held from start-to finish” remarked Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center.