Ed Gillespie Woos Conservative Base in Bid to Clinch Va. Primary

Image: Ed Gillespie Woos Conservative Base in Bid to Clinch Va. Primary

Thursday, 29 May 2014 12:15 PM

By Melanie Batley

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Virginia GOP Senate candidate Ed Gillespie has been making a special effort to convince voters of his conservative credentials.

The former Republican National Committee chair and adviser to George W. Bush looks set to win the Republican nomination on June 7, making him the likely contender to take on incumbent Democrat Mark Warner, the Daily Caller reported.

"I understand their skepticism. I have served in a lot of different jobs over 30 years," Gillespie told reporters on Tuesday, adding that his positions on Obamacare and the national debt are evidence that his views are in keeping with conservative primary voters.

"They realize that we're in agreement on just about everything," he said, according to the Daily Caller.

"I'd say, you know, whether you come in through a tea party door, or a liberty movement door, or a traditional unit door, we're in agreement on about 80 percent on what we're for and 100 percent on what we're against," he added.

One prominent conservative told the Daily Caller he had full confidence in Gillespie and his conservative credentials.

"I think he is a fine, reliable, and electable conservative here in Virginia, and I'm very glad he is running," said Morton Blackwell, a well-known Virginia conservative and president of the conservative Leadership Institute.

"I don't have any doubt that when it comes to the important things that United States senators can do for conservative principles — Ed Gillespie is going to be in there doing them," Blackwell added.

In March, a straw poll at a meeting of the Republican Party of Virginia found Gillespie was favored by 68 percent of participants in the four-way race. 

If he wins, he will face a battle to unseat Warner, as polls going back to January have given the Democrat an average lead of 19 percentage points. Nevertheless, Gillespie has said he is optimistic about his chances in November. 

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