United States Senate election in Virginia, 2008


United States Senate election in Virginia, 2008

The Virginia United States Senate election of 2008 will determine who will represent the state of Virginia as its class II member in the United States Senate. The election will be an open contest since the incumbent, John Warner, chose not to seek re-election. The general election will be held on November 4, 2008. The major party candidates are both former governors of Virginia, Democrat Mark Warner and Republican Jim Gilmore. Other candidates include Libertarian Party Bill Redpath and Independent Green Glenda Gail Parker.

While Mark Warner ran for the Democratic Party nomination unopposed, Jim Gilmore faced early competition from 11th District Congressman Tom Davis. Davis removed himself from consideration when the Republican Party moved to hold a convention rather that a primary, which was seen to favor Gilmore as the establishment candidate. In the Republican state convention however, Gilmore faced a serious challenge from state Delegate Robert G. "Bob" Marshall.

"CQ Politics" rates this race as 'Safe Democrat'. [ [http://www.cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?docID=ratings-senate Race Ratings Chart: Senate] "CQ Politics"] "The Cook Political Report" considers it 'Likely Democrat'. [ [http://www.cookpolitical.com/charts/senate/raceratings_2008-10-09_12-20-35.php 2008 Senate Race Ratings] "The Cook Political Report", October 9, 2008] "The Rothenberg Political Report" considers it a 'Likely Takeover'. [ [http://rothenbergpoliticalreport.blogspot.com/2008/09/2008-senate-ratings_29.html 2008 Senate Ratings] "The Rothenberg Political Report", September 29, 2008] In June, Senator John Ensign of Nevada, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, considered the state to be one of the top ten most competitive Senate races. [Kate Phillips, [http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/13/gop-leader-maps-senate-elections/#more-5357 G.O.P. Leader Maps Senate Elections] "The New York Times", June 13, 2008]

Background

John Warner has served Virginia in the Senate since 1979, and had been cagey about whether he would be running for re-election. He would have been favored for a sixth term had he decided to run again, even with recent Democratic gains in the state. In early 2007, speculation and rumors of his possible retirement were raised in the news media, and when Warner reported on April 12 2007 that he had raised only $500 in campaign contributions during the first quarter, speculation increased that he may not seek a sixth term. [cite news | url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/12/AR2007041202122.html | title=Warner's Fundraising Prompts Speculation on Reelection Plans | publisher="The Washington Post" | date=April 13, 2007 | page=B01 | author=Tim Craig]

On August 31 2007, Warner formally announced that he would not be seeking re-election. [cite news | url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20534057/ | title=Sen. Warner won’t seek sixth term | publisher="Associated Press" via "MSNBC" | date=August 31, 2007] The race is expected to be competitive, given the Democrats' two successive gubernatorial victories (2001, 2005) and the unseating of Republican senator George Allen by Jim Webb in 2006.cite news | url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/12/AR2007091201150.html | title=Former Va. Gov. Warner Set to Seek Senate Seat | publisher="The Washington Post" | date=September 13, 2007 | page=A01 | author=Tim Craig and Amy Gardner ]

"The Wall Street Journal" reported a story of National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Senator John Ensign outlining the 10 most competitive seats of the 2008 Senate Election. When asked about the two GOP seats likely to switch seats, Virginia and New Mexico, on whether the NRSC is mulling walking away to work on other seats that can be won, Ensign said, "You don’t waste money on races that don’t need it or you can’t win.” This may suggest that the NRSC may start cutting money off. [ [http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2008/06/12/sen-ensign-says-gop-majority-would-be-fairly-miraculous/ Washington Wire - WSJ.com : Sen. Ensign Says GOP Majority Would Be 'Fairly Miraculous' ] ]

Candidates

On September 12 2007, former Governor Mark Warner (no relation to John Warner) announced his candidacy. [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pn-LXhkNV3k Mark Warner Video Announcement] ] Mark Warner had challenged John Warner for his Senate seat in 1996, but was narrowly defeated. Mark Warner later won election in 2001 as Governor of Virginia, and left office with a high level of popularity in 2006. He was confirmed as the party nominee at the state convention on June 10, 2008.

On September 16 2007, Republican 11th District Congressman Tom Davis unofficially announced that he would seek election to the seat.cite news | url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/14/AR2007091401171.html | title=Would-Be Candidate Is Taking His Time | publisher="The Washington Post" | date=September 15, 2007 | page=B01 | author=Bill Turque ] The Washington Times reported that John Warner delayed his retirement announcement specifically to help Davis.cite news |last=McLaughlin|first=Seth
title=Mum Warner likely to move on
url=http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070625/METRO/106250073/1001
publisher="The Washington Times"
date=June 25, 2007
accessdate=2007-06-25
]

On October 13, the Republican state party's central committee voted 47-37 to hold a statewide convention rather than a primary. Former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore argued strongly for a convention, claiming it would save the candidates money. It reportedly costs $4 million to compete in a primary, while it costs only $1 million for a convention. Davis argued that a primary would expose the candidates to the kind of environment they would face in November. A primary was thought to favor Davis due to his popularity in voter-rich Northern Virginia. In contrast, a convention was thought to favor Gilmore because most of the delegates would come from the party's activist base, which is tilted heavily to the right. With the decision, Gilmore said he was seriously considering entering the race. [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/13/AR2007101300698.html Republicans Opt for Convention to Choose Nominee - washingtonpost.com ] ]

Davis officially dropped out of the race on October 25, 2007, citing the potential difficulties of defeating Gilmore in the conservative-dominated GOP convention and in taking on Warner, who is very popular in Davis' own Northern Virginia base. [ [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/10/25/politics/politico/thecrypt/main3408019.shtml Davis Out Of Senate Race, Offers Lukewarm Endorsement To Gilmore, By Josh Kraushaar - CBS News ] ] Gilmore confirmed his candidacy on November 19, 2007. [cite news |url= http://blog.washingtonpost.com/virginiapolitics/2007/11/gilmore_enters_senate_race.html |title= Gilmore Enters Senate Race |first= Tim |last= Craig |work= The Washington Post |date= November 19, 2007 |accessdate= 2007-11-19]

On January 7, 2008 social conservative state Delegate Robert G. "Bob" Marshall (R-Prince William County), a sixteen-year state legislator from Northern Virginia announced he would challenge Gilmore for the Republican nomination May 31, 2008. [Craig, Tim. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/07/AR2008010701571.html Marshall to Challenge Gilmore For Republican Nomination] . "The Washington Post". 2008-01-08.] Veteran Bob Berry from Fairfax County also ran for the republican nomination. On May 31, 2008, the Republican state convention nominated Jim Gilmore with 50.3% of the vote. Gilmore received 65 votes more than Marshall. [cite news |last= Lewis |first= Bob |url= http://www.wtop.com/?nid=25&sid=1413116 |title= Gilmore wins Va. GOP Senate nomination |work= WTOP-FM |date= May 31, 2008 |accessdate= 2008-05-31]

On March 29, 2008, the Libertarian Party of Virginia state convention nominated Bill Redpath as its Senate candidate. [ [http://www.lpva.com/ LPVA - Libertarian Party of Virginia ] ] Redpath, the current national party chair, cited the importance of running a Libertarian candidate for federal office this election year, considering the fact that the Independent Greens have been fielding candidates so actively in recent years. Glenda Gail Parker from Alexandria, a retired Air Force officer, will run again for the Independent Greens as she did in the 2006 Senate election. [ [http://votejoinrun.us/ Independent Greens of Virginia] ]

Campaign issues

Mark Warner has argued he'd be a founder and part of a radical centrist coalition, no matter who the President; He claims the coalition would improve cooperation in the Congress and its subsequent public perception. The issue of alternative energy has been another significant campaign issue for Mark Warner, however Jim Gilmore arguing for offshore drilling much like Republican Presidential nominee John McCain and President George W. Bush [ [http://www.rocktownweekly.com/news_details.php?AID=30001&CHID=1 The Daily News Record: Top News ] ] . The issue of the 2004 tax increase under then Gov. Mark Warner was raised at the first debate of the campaign between Gilmore and Warner. [cite news |url= http://www.charlottesvillenewsplex.tv/news/headlines/25651514.html |title= Gilmore, Warner Square Off In First Senate Debate |first= Matt |last= Holmes |date= July 19, 2008 |work= WCAV |accessdate= 2008-07-25]

The Washington Post reported on July 24, 2008, that Jim Gilmore "submitted false information on two financial disclosure forms that hid his ties to a government contractor embroiled in a legal dispute over allegations that two of its executives had conspired to defraud the federal government." The Gilmore campaign responded by saying, the controversy was due to a "clerical error." [cite news |url= http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/23/AR2008072303510.html |title= Gilmore Filed False Information On Campaign Disclosure Forms |first= Tim |last= Craig |work= The Washington Post |date= July 24, 2008 |accessdate= 2008-07-25]

Additionally, money is playing a large role in the campaign. By July, Mark Warner had raised $9 million, while Jim Gilmore had raised $1.2 million. [cite news |url= http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/jul/18/warner-gilmoreready-to-debate/ |title= Warner, Gilmore ready to debate |first= Gary |last= Emerling |publisher= The Washington Times |date= July 18, 2008 |accessdate= 2008-07-26]

Opinion polling

Election Results

Election box candidate with party link
party = Republican Party (United States)
candidate = Jim Gilmore
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percentage =
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Election box candidate with party link
party = Democratic Party (United States)
candidate = Mark Warner
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Election box candidate with party link
party = Independent Green Party of Virginia
candidate = Glenda Gail Parker
votes =
percentage =
change =
Election box candidate with party link
party = Libertarian Party (United States)
candidate = William Redpath
votes =
percentage =
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Election box majority
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Election box turnout
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References

External links

;General
* [http://www.sbe.virginia.gov Virginia State Board of Elections]
* [http://www.votesmart.org/election_congress_state.php?state_id=VA&go33.x=8&go33.y=11 U.S. Congress candidates for Virginia] at Project Vote Smart
* [http://www.cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?docID=senate-VA Virginia, U.S. Senate] from CQ Politics
* [http://www.ourcampaigns.com/cgi-bin/r.cgi/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=294973 Virginia U.S. Senate] from "OurCampaigns.com"
* [http://www.2008racetracker.com/page/VA-Sen Virginia Senate race] from "2008 Race Tracker"
* [http://www.opensecrets.org/races/summary.php?id=VAS2&cycle=2008 Campaign contributions] from OpenSecrets.org
* [http://www.pollster.com/08-VA-Sen-GE-GvW.php Gilmore (R) vs M. Warner (D)] graph of multiple polls from Pollster.com;Official campaign websites
* [http://www.jimgilmoreforsenate.com/ Jim Gilmore for Senate] , Republican nominee
* [http://www.markwarner2008.com/ Mark Warner for Senate] , Democratic nominee


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