Former RNC Chair Gillespie launches Republican Senate bid
January 16th, 2014
09:43 AM ET
8 months ago

Former RNC Chair Gillespie launches Republican Senate bid

Updated at 1:15 p.m. ET, 1/16/2014

Washington (CNN) – Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie on Thursday launched his campaign to try to unseat Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia.

"I'm running for Senate because the American Dream is being undermined by policies that move us away from constitutional principles of limited government and personal liberty," he said in a video on his new campaign website.

Gillespie, who has been testing the waters for several months, will begin traveling around the state meeting with activists.

One of his first focuses, one source told CNN, will be the Republican state convention in June where the party's nominee will be decided. Two lesser well-known Republicans also are seeking the nomination.

Gillespie, who serves as chairman of the largest group of GOP state leaders, the Republican State Leadership Committee, 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. He also worked as a lobbyist in Washington.

Those jobs have given Gillespie major access to Republican donors, which he will need if he wins the nomination.

Warner, a moderate and a former Virginia governor who will be running for a second term in the Senate, has a large war chest ready for the campaign.

Following Gillespie's announcement, Warner issued a statement touting his record in the state and saying he's prepared to face whichever candidate the Republicans nominate this summer.

"Whether it is protecting our veterans and military families, putting forth a bold plan to fix our debt and deficit, or fighting for jobs in rural Virginia, I am committed to working tirelessly to help all Virginians," he said. "I look forward to putting my independent, bipartisan record up against whichever candidate the Republicans nominate at their convention in June."

Analysts have said if Gillespie does win the nomination it will make the race much more competitive than they initially expected.


Filed under: 2014 • Ed Gillespie • Mark Warner • Senate • Virginia
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Sorry! But I'm not voting for this republican political hack over our current, well serving Sen. Warner.

    January 16, 2014 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  2. Bill

    Warner will trounce this guy. End of story.

    January 16, 2014 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    You can't find a more "serious conservative" than Gillespie. Although, he probably scores as a RINO nowadays.

    January 16, 2014 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  4. Teacher

    Dutch –
    Why not? You sure voted for a political hack for governor!

    January 16, 2014 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  5. Jered

    Never heard of him, and I voted (R) for close to 30 years.

    January 16, 2014 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  6. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Teacher
    Dutch –
    Why not? You sure voted for a political hack for governor!
    ------------------------------------------
    A political hack who was way more viable & sane than the alternative.

    January 16, 2014 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  7. Gurgyl

    GOP is nonsense to USA.... Lies, wars, guns, cheats....

    January 16, 2014 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  8. current state of the union

    Yup,teacher a hack, and by far the best choice, go figure

    January 16, 2014 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  9. sonny chapman

    Just what Congress needs right now, another Superstar Political Operative. Why not elect Karl Rove & James Carville ? They'll really foster Common Sense Compromise.

    January 16, 2014 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  10. Rudy NYC

    sonny chapman

    Just what Congress needs right now, another Superstar Political Operative. Why not elect Karl Rove & James Carville ? They'll really foster Common Sense Compromise.
    ------------------–
    BAM. Political Operative. You hit the nail right on its' head. You couldn't find more ideal ideologues, anywhere.

    January 16, 2014 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  11. just saying

    gillespie will make a good candidate. he is well spoken and is no dummy. he should give warner a run for his money. we can only hope he wins to take control of the senate and be rid of the senile do-nothing harry reid. do the right thing virginia!

    January 16, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  12. A True Conservative

    @ Dutch – what a shock!! You aren't voting for a Republican?? I guess you'll just keep voting straight Democrat – it makes voting so much easier when you don't need to try to think!!

    January 16, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  13. The REAL Truth...

    @just saying – do the right thing virginia!
    --------------------------
    Let's hope Virginia does, and blow out any GOP candidate – especially this one. The GOP have proven that they do not have the interests of the country at heart.. and let's face it.. who needs another Boehner or McConnell in DC.. Get rid of them all.

    January 16, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  14. Sheila

    it will be a toss up...some counties in Va. is heavily red

    January 16, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    just saying wrote:

    gillespie will make a good candidate. he is well spoken and is no dummy. he should give warner a run for his money. we can only hope he wins to take control of the senate and be rid of the senile do-nothing harry reid. do the right thing virginia!
    -------------------–
    Can take you to the Patent Office and claim that I've discovered a Perpetual Motion Machine?

    January 16, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  16. just saying

    The REAL Truth...
    @just saying – do the right thing virginia!
    --------–
    Let's hope Virginia does, and blow out any GOP candidate – especially this one. The GOP have proven that they do not have the interests of the country at heart..
    ---

    demcrats have been running the show for 7 years now in washington. ran us right into a recession and have been digging the hole deeper and deeper every year since. and your solution is more and more of the same insanity from the party of the liar in chief that conned the whole country and wrecked our healthcare system.

    sorry, but the american people have finally seen what the far left democrat party is all about. lise, deceit and than blame others for the failures. this country and economy will never recover as long as far left loons like obama, redi and pelosi are in control. the american people are finally awakening to that reality.

    the real recovery starts in 2014 with the removal of the senate from the destructive and now do-nothing democrat hands.

    January 16, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  17. Gurgyl

    @just saying this recession is the root cause of Bush Iraq war drain–did you forget? Pathetic GOP backer live in minimum wage and pose to be a rich guy.....

    January 16, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  18. Donna

    Did Warner vote for Obamacare? If so, then he is part of the massive fraud perpetrated on the American people and should be removed from office. We simply cannot have people in this high positions of power that refuse to do their job and read what they are voting for. If Warner still supports Obamacare and will not vote for its repeal then he must be removed from office. It is the ONLY way we will be able to save our healthcare system.

    January 16, 2014 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  19. rs

    I'm running for Senate because the American Dream is being undermined by policies that move us away from constitutional principles of limited government and personal liberty,"
    _______________________
    Fascinating Right-wing lies- especially given the GOPs sick fascination with what lies within women's pants. This, in a state that wanted to regulate the type of sex consenting adults can engage in. This from a party that yesterday introduced a bill to the Arizona Senate that would enshrine the right of business owners and employers to discriminate against "Jews, gays, and moniroties" based upon their religious beliefs.
    Party of Freedon? The party of Lies!

    January 16, 2014 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    just saying wrote:

    "demcrats have been running the show for 7 years now in washington. ran us right into a recession and have been digging the hole deeper and deeper every year since. and your solution is more and more of the same insanity from the party of the liar in chief that conned the whole country and wrecked our healthcare system. ...."
    -----------------------–
    How do you figure Democrats "have been running the show for 7 years now?" I guess you mean since Democrats took control of the Senate and House in 2007. But, what about your guy, Bush, in the White House until Jan. 2009? What about the fact that Republicans had ran everything for the previous six years, including the House for 16 out of the last 20 years?

    What about the fact that The Great Recession was presaged by a housing bubble that had begun to burst in 2006. All of those mortgages that went bad were signed prior to 2007. Have you forgotten all about the "American Dream Downpayment Initiative of 2004". Democrats didn't have anything to do with that legislation, which is what many see as the prime instigator in the housing crash.

    The "ADDI of 2004" deregulated the mortgate business, which directly led to the deceptive language found in mortgages. I suggest you do a web search for it. Bush encouraged lenders to write "simpler language" into their loans so that "first time buyers will not need to hire a lawyer" to read it.

    January 16, 2014 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  21. rs

    just saying

    The REAL Truth...
    @just saying – do the right thing virginia!
    --––
    Let's hope Virginia does, and blow out any GOP candidate – especially this one. The GOP have proven that they do not have the interests of the country at heart..
    -

    demcrats have been running the show for 7 years now in washington. ran us right into a recession and have been digging the hole deeper and deeper every year since. and your solution is more and more of the same insanity from the party of the liar in chief that conned the whole country and wrecked our healthcare system.

    sorry, but the american people have finally seen what the far left democrat party is all about. lise, deceit and than blame others for the failures. this country and economy will never recover as long as far left loons like obama, redi and pelosi are in control. the american people are finally awakening to that reality.

    the real recovery starts in 2014 with the removal of the senate from the destructive and now do-nothing democrat hands.
    ___________________
    Right-wing delusion in action- all evil begins with Obama and GOPpers were just little angels before that.

    January 16, 2014 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  22. Thomas

    Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie should be in federal prison on racketeering and money laundering .

    Outside money pandering to poor states.

    January 16, 2014 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  23. just saying

    Rudy NYC
    just saying wrote:
    "demcrats have been running the show for 7 years now in washington. ran us right into a recession and have been digging the hole deeper and deeper every year since. and your solution is more and more of the same insanity from the party of the liar in chief that conned the whole country and wrecked our healthcare system. ...."
    -------––
    How do you figure Democrats "have been running the show for 7 years now?" I guess you mean since Democrats took control of the Senate and House in 2007. But, what about your guy, Bush, in the White House until Jan. 2009? What about the fact that Republicans had ran everything for the previous six years, including the House for 16 out of the last 20 years?
    ---

    yes, democrats have controlled all or two thirds of the federal government for the last 7 years. and what have the last seven years given us? a recession, record unemployment for record time, massive debt and deficits, a stagnant economy, almost no job growth not even keeping up with popultion growth, the lowest workforce participation rate since jimmy carter, and now the destruction of our healthcare system by obamacare.

    george bush was handed a recession by clinton and even with the 9/11 attack, the economy still grew and unemployment was far lower than we have sene over the last 5 years. something like 50 consecutive months of economic growth and low unemplyment, until the democrats took control of the house and senate.

    and the housing bubble was driven by several factors, easy access to mortgages for people with no visible way to repay them, government guarantees of those mortgages (total insanity) and the democrats refusal to reel thier protected children fannie mae and fredide mac (run by democrat supporters). democrat srefused to act after repeatedly being begged and warned by bush. democrat barney frank was the worse criminal. he even went out there and said there was no problem, everything was fine. a few months later the collapse started.

    January 16, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  24. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    A True Conservative
    @ Dutch – what a shock!! You aren't voting for a Republican?? I guess you'll just keep voting straight Democrat – it makes voting so much easier when you don't need to try to think!!
    --------------------------------------–
    I'll never vote republican EVER!!! First off, we ideologically disagree. Secondly, republicans are for Greed Over People. And lastly, republicans have aligned themselves with racists and those intent on harming the country.#NOGOP

    January 16, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  25. Omaha

    Why would anybody vote for a Democrat after Obam aand all his lies? We still have record unemployment after 5 years. The economy would have done better had they done NOTHING. This is the worse recovery after a recssion in the history of our country. 5 years and all we have to show for it is a bogus healthcare fiasco that is hurting far more people than it helps.

    January 16, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |