Tags: gillespie | warner | virginia | senate

Democrat Warner Claims Win Over Gillespie for Senate in Virginia

Wednesday, 05 Nov 2014 05:55 AM

Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner claimed a narrow victory over Republican challenger Ed Gillespie in a contest that polls had suggested would be an easy win for Democrats on a night they suffered defeats across the country.

Warner, who won 65 percent of the ballots cast in 2008, had to rely on a surge of support from the Washington suburbs of northern Virginia and in Richmond to overcome the big margins that Gillespie ran up in more rural parts of the state.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting and almost 2.2 million votes counted, Warner had 49.1 percent to Gillespie’s 48.5 percent. While Gillespie didn’t concede and the election may be headed for a recount, Warner said last night he was ready to return to the Senate and “work with anyone -- Democrat, Republican, independent, you name it.”

Gillespie didn’t concede defeat and said it may take a day or longer to settle the race.

“We are going to accept whatever is the final outcome,” the former Republican National Committee chairman said from his election-night party. “Let’s just stay together for a few more days, maybe longer. We’ll know more tomorrow.”

Warner Lead

Statewide polls conducted in the last weeks of the race showed Warner with leads ranging from 7 percentage points to 12 percentage points. As a result, the race didn’t draw the national parties until there were late signs that the chances of an upset had increased. The National Republican Senatorial Committee said it spent $600,000 to support Gillespie this past weekend.

“He has run well where he needed to run well,” Tom Davis, a former Republican congressman from Virginia, said about Gillespie in an interview. Even if Gillespie loses, he’ll be in a good position to run for governor, Davis said.

Gillespie almost pulled off an upset on an Election Day in which Republicans gained the six seats they needed to hold the majority in the U.S. Senate, with some races in the western U.S. yet to be determined.

As with other Republican candidates, Gillespie’s campaign strategy was to attack Warner, who was elected to the Senate in 2008 after serving as Virginia’s governor from 2001-2005, as too closely aligned with President Barack Obama.

Though Obama won the state in 2008 and 2012 -- the first Democratic presidential candidate to do so since 1964 -- Republican voters were energized by the president’s unpopularity and the chance to take control of the Senate.

First Race

Gillespie, 53, was running his first race for elective office. He had worked for politicians including former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Gillespie was an aide in President George W. Bush’s administration and a supporter of his attempt to change U.S. immigration laws. Under his leadership at the Republican National Committee, Virginia voted for Bush for president in 2004 as it had in 2000. As a political fundraiser and lobbyist, Gillespie continued to work on immigration reform. He ran Ed Gillespie Strategies, a now-closed lobbying firm, and Quinn Gillespie & Associates, which he created with Democratic White House counsel Jack Quinn.

Warner, 59, won his Senate seat by beating another former Virginia governor, James Gilmore III, by more than 30 percentage points. In that race, held in a presidential year, more than 3.5 million votes were cast. The turnout in this year’s midterm was poised to be less than 2.2 million, based on the latest Associated Press tally.

Before seeking elective office, Warner was a technology entrepreneur and executive. He co-founded a mobile phone company that became Nextel Corp. He became a millionaire when he sold his share in the business.

In the Senate, he is one of the so-called Gang of Six working to find partisan middle ground on budget matters.


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Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner claimed a narrow victory over Republican challenger Ed Gillespie in a contest that polls had suggested would be an easy win for Democrats on a night they suffered defeats across the country. Warner, who won 65 percent of the ballots...
gillespie, warner, virginia, senate
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2014-55-05
Wednesday, 05 Nov 2014 05:55 AM
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