Analysis: Is Mark Warner in trouble?

A poll released last week by Christopher Newport University has Democrat Mark Warner ahead of Republican Ed Gillespie by 2014 as the attention turns slowly toward the November U.S. Senate race.

mark-warnerThe poll had Warner at 50 percent and Gillespie, making his first bid for elected office, at 30 percent, largely because Gillespie is unknown to Virginia voters.

Seven in 10 voters have no opinion of Gillespie, according to the poll.

“The odds heavily favor Sen. Warner, but he clearly has work to do to make the case to voters between now and November,” said Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.

That’s good advice from Kidd, that Warner has work to do to make his case. Because Gillespie will become more known as the seasons change from winter to spring to summer to fall, and he will be on the attack early and often, trying to pin everything in terms of troubles in the second term of the Obama administration, from the botched rollout of the website to, well, did we mention that botched rollout of the website?

Warner is about as close to Teflon as there has ever been in Virginia politics. He left the governor’s office as the most popular governor ever, and won his 2008 Senate race against another former governor, Jim Gilmore, in a 30-point landslide.

But a lot has happened since then. Barack Obama won the state in his 2012 re-election, and Tim Kaine won the 2012 Senate race, but while Democrats swept the statewide races in 2013, the races for governor and attorney general were too close for comfort, with borderline extremist Ken Cuccinelli carrying the flag at the top of the ticket to boot.

Virginia remains a competitive state politically, and it is in this environment that Warner will be forced to defend the record of the Obama administration, whether he wants to or not.

The race might be 20 points now, but it will be single digits by the end of the summer, and thus anybody’s game.

Column by Chris Graham


UVA Basketball Fans!

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25. The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe, and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018 through to the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

Dick Vitale on Team of Destiny: “This is a hoops story you will LOVE! Jerry and Chris capture the sensational and dramatic championship journey by Tony Bennett and his tenacious Cavalier team. UVA was Awesome Baby and so is this book!”

Ralph Sampson on Team of Destiny: “Jerry and Chris have lived and seen it all, even before my time. I highly recommend this book to every basketball fan across the globe. This story translates to all who know defeat and how to overcome it!”

Feedback from buyers: “Got the Book in the Mail Saturday, and could not put it down! Great read and great photography as well! Love all of the books I’ve received, but hands down, this is my favorite!” – Russell

Buy here.

augusta free press news
augusta free press news
augusta free press news