Mark Obenshain: Ed Gillespie ran a strong campaign

obenshain2Shortly after noon today Ed Gillespie told supporters that while close, the margin in his race for the United States Senate is not quite close enough. It’s not the outcome we hoped for, but it’s also one that none of the political pundits expected. Despite being outspent two to one and being down 29 points when he first got in the race, Ed Gillespie “shocked political prognosticators by making a race of an election some saw as a runaway.” But he didn’t shock those of us who were actually paying attention.

I congratulate Ed on running an energetic, positive campaign that was focused on the issues. He offered voters a stark contrast to the negative mudslinging that emanated from the opposition by providing voters with innovative solutions to Washington’s most pressing problems. He worked to build a coalition of Republicans, independents and conservative Democrats while standing strong for our shared conservative values.

In addition to running an issues-oriented campaign, Ed tirelessly campaigned across the Commonwealth, traveling thousands of miles meeting with voters in every corner of Virginia. I spent a lot of time out on the campaign trail with Ed, and I saw firsthand the energy he instilled in the grassroots. It was this energy and enthusiasm that made this race so close.

Going forward, we must build on this year’s successes and turn our sights to the challenges ahead. As a Party, we must continue to build coalitions and expand our base while adhering to our commitment to conservative principles.

I look forward to next year’s state elections and working with you to preserve, and expand, our slim majority in the State Senate. I will continue to travel the Commonwealth and support our Republican candidates, because the consequences of inaction are too high.

While the outcome of this year’s Senate election is disappointing, I congratulate Team Gillespie on making this campaign a heavyweight slugfest rather than the runaway election that so many political pundits assumed it would be. Ed and his team should be proud of all they accomplished in 2014.

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