Ex-RNC Chairman Gillespie Will Run For Virginia Senate Seat

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Thursday, 09 Jan 2014 08:39 PM

By Cynthia Fagen

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Powerful longtime GOP party operative Ed Gillespie will announce he's running for the U.S. senate in the key swing state Senate of Virginia, the New York Times reported Thursday.

The former Republican National Committee chairman told senior members of his party that he will challenge Democratic Sen. Mark Warner and will formally submit his candidacy next week, the Times said.

The highly regarded Gillespie gives Republicans a promising shot at regaining the senate seat in the hotly competitive swing state.

It also signals that mainstream Virginia Republicans are attempting to retake control from the tea party.

It will be an uphill battle. Warner is the most popular politician in Virginia, and has $7.1 million campaign war chest as well as a personal fortune to tap.

However, his Achilles' heel may be the state's overall opposition to Obamacare and the president's plummeting popularity.

"Ed brings a long record in the conservative movement and a national profile to a party that’s looking for unity and a lot of resources," Pete Snyder, who narrowly lost the Republican nomination to run for lieutenant governor, last year, told the Times.

Gillespie, a conservative, who served as a congressional aide to President Bush, had no comment.

Mike Farris, who once ran for statewide office told the paper he had talked to Gillespie "several times" in recent weeks and was optimistic about the former party chairman’s "uphill but winnable" candidacy.

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