WASHINGTON (CNN) – Republican Bob McDonnell took a page from the Mark Warner playbook on Monday by announcing the formation of a group called "Virginians for McDonnell" - "a broad group of Democrats, Independents and Republicans" supporting his gubernatorial bid, according to his campaign.
The group is patterned after "Virginians for Warner," a committee of Republicans and independents that helped raise money for Mark Warner when he ran for governor in 2001 and for Senate in 2008. In both campaigns, Warner presented himself as a business-minded moderate who could rise above party politics.
McDonnell is taking a similarly pragmatic tack in 2009, even with a conservative voting record and ties to the religious right.
His rival in the race, Democrat Creigh Deeds, is a conservative Democrat who has pledged to follow in the footsteps of Warner and current governor Tim Kaine, both of whom remain popular among Virginia voters. Not surprisingly, Warner himself is sticking with his own party and supporting Deeds.
In 2008, the "Virginians for Warner" coalition counted among its ranks hundreds of Republican and independent officials.
But McDonnell's new group, which includes members from "Virginians for Warner," is considerably smaller: There are 22 members, a roster that includes a few Democrats but no major party figures holding elected office. Most of the group's members are independents and Republicans who supported Warner in the past but are now returning to the GOP fold.
(CNN) - CNN is projecting that Mark Warner has won Virginia's Senate race.
GOP Sen. John Warner won the last race with more than 80 percent of the vote - but the only politician to rival him in popularity was former Democratic Gov. Mark Warner. If the veteran Republican senator had not retired, the battle of the Warners promised to be a tough fight.
But Mark Warner's Republican opponent was the far less-popular former Gov. Jim Gilmore, who mounted a barely-noticed presidential bid this cycle. With Warner's massive fundraising and organizing advantage, the race was a foregone conclusion for months. Virginia, which had not supported a Democratic presidential candidate since Lyndon Johnson ran for re-election in 1964, delivered its electoral votes to Barack Obama last night. The party now also controls the governor's mansion, and both Senate seats.
DENVER (CNN) – A source close to Mark Warner who helped the Senate candidate craft his convention keynote speech said criticism by senior Democrats that his planned remarks were not partisan enough were off-base – because the Virginia Senate candidate's bi-partisan reputation is precisely why he was asked to speak in the first place.
“That is at odds with the notion that he should be the person ripping the bark off McCain,” this source said.
In a Huffington Post op-ed titled "Please, Democrats, Attack" Begala said he recognized that Warner was running this year in a traditionally Republican state, but that "Democrats should not have put Warner in this bind."
In his speech, Warner will include one of the Obama camp’s main themes – that the Illinois senator represents change versus four more years of the same - but the crux of his speech will be talking about working together with Republicans and the lessons and success he had doing that in Virginia.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Virginia Governor and Senate candidate Mark Warner will deliver the keynote address at this month’s 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Barack Obama’s presidential campaign announced Wednesday that Warner will deliver the speech on the convention’s second night, Tuesday August 26 - that’s also the night that Senator Hillary Clinton (D-New York) will also speak in prime time. Clinton came very close to winning the Democratic presidential nomination, dropping her bid for the White House and backing Obama just two months ago, after the end of the primary season.
But Warner gets the coveted role of keynote speaker. Four years ago a little-known state lawmaker from Illinois who was running for the Senate had the same role. His speech at the convention in Boston was highly praised by Democrats. That man, Obama, went on to win his election and now the Democrat’s presumptive presidential nominee.
Warner won election as Virginia’s governor in 2001, the first in a string of statewide election victories by Democrats this decade in a state that was once dominated by Republicans. Warner is now facing off with the man he succeeded in Richmond, Republican Jim Gilmore, in the battle to succeed retiring Senator John Warner (no relation to Mark Warner), a Republican who has held the seat for three decades.
Democrats say the theme of the second night of the convention will be “Renewing America’s Promise.”
Former Virginia Gov. Gilmore participating in a Republican presidential debate prior to dropping his White House bid.
WASHINGTON – (CNN) Jim Gilmore officially jumped into the race for the Senate Monday.
The former Republican Governor of Virginia announced in an e-mail and on the Internet that he’s a candidate for the seat of retiring Senator John Warner, a long time Republican Senator from Virginia who announced earlier this year that he’ll retire at the end of his term rather than run for re-election next year.
"America has a lot of work to do and doesn't have the right leaders to do it," says Gilmore in his announcement, adding that "I'm running for the United State Senate from Virginia because I want to be one of those leaders who call on the spirit that is common in all of us, and use it to restore our country for the benefit of our people and in the eyes of the world."
Gilmore’s announcement sets up an expected high profile contest between two former Virginia governors. Democrat Mark Warner, who succeeded Gilmore at the State House in Richmond, jumped into the race for the senate seat earlier this year. Warner is not related to the retiring senator.
Besides being former Virginia governors, Mark Warner and John Gilmore have something else in common: White House aspirations.
Mark Warner contemplated a presidential bid last year before deciding against it. Gilmore jumped into the race for the White House late last year before dropping out in July.
–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser
Davis announced Thursday he will not run for retiring Virginia Sen. John Warner's seat.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Rep. Tom Davis said Thursday he will not run for the open Senate seat in Virginia next year.
The Republican congressman from Northern Virginia had been considering a bid to succeed his friend, retiring Sen. John Warner, who announced this summer that he would not run for re-election in 2008.
With Davis out, the race to succeed Warner appears to be a battle of two former Virginia governors, Democrat Mark Warner, no relation, and Republican Jim Gilmore.
Warner announced his intentions last month and has raised over a million dollars. He is still very popular with Virginia voters and early polling puts him ahead of Gilmore in a potential head to head match up. National Democrats are betting Warner can win back the Republican held seat and help the party expand its current slim 51 to 49 majority in the Senate.
From left, Gov. Tim Kaine, then-Senate candidate Jim Webb and former Gov. Mark Warner watch results come in for Webb's race.
(CNN) - Recently, on George Allen's new Web site, GeorgeAllen.com, the former Republican senator from Virginia listed some words of wisdom from legendary college football coaches like Knut Rockne and Woody Hayes.
Coming from Allen's keyboard, one quote stands out, from Ralph "Shug" Jordan of Auburn: "Always remember ... Goliath was a 40 point favorite over David."
In the summer of 2006, Allen held a monster lead over Jim Webb in the Virginia Senate race. One famous YouTube video and several campaign slip-ups later, Webb is now in the Senate wrangling over Iraq spending bills while Allen is at home in Virginia, blogging about football.
– CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
Warner launched a campaign Web site Thursday and announced his intention to run for the Senate on YouTube.
(CNN) - Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner turned to YouTube Thursday to announce his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated retiring Republican Sen. John Warner.
The former governor also informed supporters Thursday morning by email about his decision to run for the Senate.
"I've decided the way I can contribute most to getting our country back on
track is to serve in the United States Senate," Warner said in the video.
Warner also said he will wait to make an official announcement until after Virginia's legislative elections in November.
– CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby
Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner will make a bid for the Senate, according to the Associated Press.
(CNN) - It appears we could have another bitter Senate battle in the Old Dominion state next year.
Former Virginia Governor Mark Warner intends to run for the Senate in 2008, according to Democratic officials who spoke with the Associated Press.
Warner is scheduled to make an e-mail announcement Thursday regarding his political plans. The officials who spoke to the AP did so on the condition of anonymity, saying they didn’t want to pre-empt Warner’s announcement.
In last year’s midterm elections, Democrat Jim Webb ousted Republican incumbent Sen. George Allen by a margin of less than 10,000 votes, or less than half a percentage point. Webb’s victory helped give the Democrats a slim 51 to 49 Senate majority. We could see an equally close contest in Virginia next year.
– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser