Tags: virginia | senate | race | mark warner | ed gillespie

Virginia Republican Gillespie Closing In on Sen. Warner

By    |   Thursday, 02 October 2014 09:51 PM

In what has to the latest sign that there is a wave of fresh voter support developing on behalf of Republican candidates this fall, a Sept. 25 Quinnipiac poll shows the Virginia Senate race once thought to be a cinch for incumbent Democrat Mark Warner quickly turning into a horserace.

According to Quinnipiac's survey of likely voters statewide, one-term Sen. and former Gov. Warner leads Republican challenger Ed Gillespie by a margin of 48% to 39%. These figures are particularly impressive in that only one month earlier, several polls gave Warner leads of 15% to 20% over former Republican National Chairman Gillespie.

"So Ed is doing better at this point in the campaign that [Democrat] Jim Webb was doing against [the-GOP Sen.] George Allen was at this point in '06," observed Rob Bell, a Republican state legislator from Charlottesville, Virginia, who noted a survey showing Allen beating Webb by 48% to 37% in late September of '06. (Webb eventually defeated Allen in one of the two closest Senate races of that year).

Between campaign stops, Gillespie spoke to Newsmax days after the Quinnipiac figures became public—as well as a minor sensation on the Internet.

"I can't reveal our internal polling, but it is consistent with where we wanted to be at this point with the goal of overtaking my opponent by November," Gillespie told us.

Recalling how Gillespie worked closely with then-Rep. Dick Armey (R-Tex.) to craft the "Contract With America" that played a major role in Republicans capturing both houses of Congress in 1994, we asked him if he had the same feeling about a GOP "wave" in 2014.

"I can't speak on the national mood—just here in Virginia," said Gillespie, "and what we have always felt is that Mark Warner's record is very much at odds with what Virginians believe. If a majority know his record, we'll win."

The GOP nominee then ticked off the stands Warner has taken that he feels are the most "un-Virginian:" "casting the deciding vote for Obamacare that has cost tens of thousands of Virginians to lose their health insurance, support of cap and trade measures that will lead to a carbon tax and damage industry here; and, after insisting he is an ‘independent' senator and 'bipartisan,' voting with Barack Obama 97% of the time."

It is the last point—siding with Obama 97% of the time in Senate votes—that Gillespie hits hardest. A staple of his stump speeches and latest television broadsides, the linking of Warner to Obama is a clear sign that the president's popularity has severely dipped in a state whose electoral votes he twice carried.

In making the point that Warner is an Obama Democrat, Gillespie quickly segues to his own agenda: lowering taxes to create new jobs, slashing regulations to unleash the state's energy industry, and support for trade.

"Our agenda will create jobs and increase take-home pay, and his will do just the opposite," the GOP nominee told us.

Gillespie freely admitted that Warner has been outspending him 3-to-1 and would probably do so in the twilight weeks of the campaign.

But, he quickly added, "we're getting the volunteers in the counties and towns across Virginia. With ‘Veterans for Ed,' ‘Sportsmen for Ed,' and other groups like that, you can feel the energy among the grass roots. And hard work beats money in this state."

Gillespie backers are quick to point out that in 1993, George Allen, then the Republican nominee for governor, was outspent by Democrat Mary Sue Terry. But Allen, they note, hit the road and rallied volunteers throughout the Old Dominion, and won in a landslide.

With 50,000 miles on his car's odometer in the last eight months and the momentum evinced in the latest poll, Gillespie believes history will repeat itself this November.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

 



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In what has to the latest sign that there is a wave of fresh voter support developing on behalf of Republican candidates this fall, a Sept. 25 Quinnipiac poll shows the Virginia Senate race once thought to be a cinch for incumbent Democrat Mark Warner quickly turning into a horserace.
virginia, senate, race, mark warner, ed gillespie
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2014-51-02
Thursday, 02 October 2014 09:51 PM
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