Former Republican Chairman Ed Gillespie expected to announce Senate candidacy
January 10th, 2014
02:42 PM ET
11 months ago

Former Republican Chairman Ed Gillespie expected to announce Senate candidacy

Washington (CNN) – Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie is expected to soon announce he will seek the Republican nomination for the Senate seat in Virginia currently held by Democrat Mark Warner, who is running for re-election next year, a Republican familiar with the matter confirmed to CNN.

He has informed some party leaders he will mount the campaign after testing the waters and could announce his candidacy as early as next week the source said.

Gillespie, who currently chairs the Republican State Leadership Committee (the largest group in the country of GOP state leaders), has served in major leadership posts for Republicans for many years, including in the George W. Bush White House and advising the candidacies of Mitt Romney in his 2012 presidential run and Bob McDonnell for Virginia governor and also has worked as a lobbyist in Washington.

Gillespie refused to confirm his decision to CNN but told CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger: "As I've made clear, I am talking to a lot of my fellow republicans in Virginia about running against Mark Warner. I've been encouraged by people all across our party and our commonwealth. The filing deadline is February 1st, so I will be announcing my intentions in the near future."

Morton Blackwell, a longtime Republican Party activist from Virginia and a member of the Republican National Committee, told CNN he has spoken to Gillespie several times urging him to run. Blackwell said he has not been told Gillespie has decided to enter the race but said if he does he will be a "very major candidate from the outset."

"It appears to me he is doing things which would be appropriate for him to run," Blackwell added, including talking to activists in the party. "I think it is very important to have a very strong candidate for the Senate."

One major asset Gillespie would bring to the race would be his fund-raising ability and major rolodex, including his time at the RSLC and helping to form the Super PAC American Crossroads.

Some other lesser well-known Republicans have indicated they will also seek the party nomination for the seat, but Gillespie would be the major front-runner.

Analysts believe Warner, a former Virginia governor, will still have an advantage, but some Republicans say if Gillespie is the Republican nominee then it could be a competitive race. Blackwell, for instance, says President Barack Obama will not help Warner in Virginia, a state he captured twice.

"In recent months Obama has declined significantly politically. People don't trust him," Blackwell said.

The New York Times first reported Gillespie had told party leaders of his plans.


Filed under: Ed Gillespie • Senate • Virginia
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Sorry Ed, but I'm sticking with Sen. Warner. Get lost and kick rocks! Get your bonafides up pal. Our current senators were former governors. What the heck have you done for us Virginians?

    January 10, 2014 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  2. PaulCat

    WOW.
    -–119 days of "work" schedule for this year – out of 365 days and still draw their $200,000.00 yearly paycheck.
    I think I'll run for office also.

    January 10, 2014 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  3. sonny chapman

    A Political Operative/Hack in the U.S. Senate. Just what American Democracy needs. Hell, why not elect Karl Rove as TX. Senator.

    January 10, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  4. Stuffitu

    One job created for every 5 lost by the most corrupt and incompetent president in history, Is there any way we can get the trillions of dollars that he gave to the dopers, welfare frauds and corrpt unions back? Let's hope he doesn't turn his laser like focus to the ecosystem any more.

    January 10, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  5. Fair is Fair

    Welcome news.

    January 10, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  6. just asking

    where is the thread on the disastrous jobs numbers that were just reported??? oh yeah, can't talk about that as it hurts the obama lie of there being a recovery.

    January 10, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  7. Tampa Tim

    Gillespie's close association with W and Mittens will do what for him? I can't imagine it would help.

    January 10, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  8. yolanda

    You're right Dutch, he hasn't done much for Virginia. No argument there. But it does make one ask what Terry Mcauliffe has done for Virginia.....

    January 10, 2014 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  9. CALIFORNIA

    Sniffit
    "What difference does it make? "

    None. This legislation is meaningless drivel that is based on no actual problem and fixes absolutely nothing.
    ---------
    You advocating for the presidents dictatorship is commendable in a democrat way.

    January 10, 2014 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  10. PaulCat

    Unemployment rate down to 6.7%
    Great job Mr. President. Keep up the good work.
    Mr. Bush need to thank you for fitting his mistakes.
    If Gillespie get into office it will go back to 10%

    January 10, 2014 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  11. Tampa Tim

    The baggers are circling their wagons, and now are going after the jobs report. Wow! Did we lose 8 million jobs in 2013 like we did in 2008? But, It says we gained jobs. With all the bagger outrage, who would have thought jobs were created?

    January 10, 2014 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  12. 2020

    For the very reason of his vast work experience, he should find a job outside Washington. There is enough toxic elements in that town.

    January 10, 2014 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  13. Tampa Tim

    Yo! Landa – how many days has McAuliff been on the job in VA? We gave republicans 30 years to see if trickle down economics worked, it didn't. We gave W 7 years to finish his month long war in Iraq. Be patient child.

    January 10, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  14. Fair is Fair

    PaulCat

    Unemployment rate down to 6.7%
    Great job Mr. President. Keep up the good work.
    Mr. Bush need to thank you for fitting his mistakes.
    If Gillespie get into office it will go back to 10%
    -------
    You do realize the number went to 6.7% because 350,000 people quit looking, right? The labor participation rate is at around 62%. That 154 Million citizens are working while about 92 Million citizens are now not working, with the gap closing rapidly? Great job, Mr. President... indeed.

    January 10, 2014 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  15. Gurgyl

    I think these jobless guys need to run for senate, congress. Just go run.

    January 10, 2014 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  16. The Real Tom Paine

    -Stuffitu

    One job created for every 5 lost by the most corrupt and incompetent president in history, Is there any way we can get the trillions of dollars that he gave to the dopers, welfare frauds and corrpt unions back? Let's hope he doesn't turn his laser like focus to the ecosystem any more.
    *******************
    Hey WiredWierdinSF, glad to see you've brought your patented phrase "...the dopers, welfare frauds and corrupt(sp) and incompetant blah blah blah" back with the same lack of attention to the subject at hand as you did before the 2012 Election. Remember how your predictions turned out then? By the way, why does Ed Gillespie deserve to sit in the Senate? He helped to set the stage for Harry Reid to become Majority Leader.

    January 10, 2014 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  17. FrankinSD

    I knew Warner was pretty strong, but if this is the best the Republicans can do, I didn't know the half of it.

    January 10, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  18. Scott

    Never mind rollout problems Obama's Democrat care is unaffordable and that means a lot of people don't get any, so really it's just a grab for fine money off of less fortunate Americans.

    Democrats in Congress seem to be in lock step with Obama despite poll numbers.

    I've voted Democrat for over 50 years but I'm splitting with this group until 2016 or beyond. We need a change it's the only way.

    January 10, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    You do realize the number went to 6.7% because 350,000 people quit looking, right?
    ----------------------
    Uh. It must be due to all of those "self deportations"?

    January 10, 2014 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  20. Malory Archer

    Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    You do realize the number went to 6.7% because 350,000 people quit looking, right?

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    That's the same number of baby boomers who are retiring every month.

    January 10, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  21. Tampa Tim

    Yo! Landa – I checked, and McAuliff gets sworn in this weekend. No wonder he hasn't fixed all of the republican created problems in VA.

    January 10, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  22. Malory Archer

    Scott

    Never mind rollout problems Obama's Democrat care is unaffordable and that means a lot of people don't get any, so really it's just a grab for fine money off of less fortunate Americans.

    Democrats in Congress seem to be in lock step with Obama despite poll numbers.

    I've voted Democrat for over 50 years but I'm splitting with this group until 2016 or beyond. We need a change it's the only way.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Yeah, and I've voted repub for the last 30.

    See what I did there?

    January 10, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  23. Tampa Tim

    If 350,000 baby boomers retire each month, do the republicans report them as unemployed?

    January 10, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  24. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    I remember this fool. He helped destroy the Republican Party and then blamed it on Michael Steele. The GOP is good at that... Causing a catastrophe and blaming the black guy.

    January 10, 2014 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |