Mark Warner wins third term in Senate in closer-than-expected race
It wasn’t quite 2014, but Mark Warner still had to sweat out another Senate re-election win Tuesday night.
The Democrat pulled ahead in the counting after midnight, bolstered by late big returns from Northern Virginia, on his way to a 475,000-vote win over Republican Daniel Gade.
Warner ended up pulling 55.6 percent of the vote to Gade’s 44.3 percent.
The tally came in slowly after the polls closed at 7 p.m. on Election Night, and Gade had the lead in the counting most of the night, bolstered by returns coming in from west, southwest and south central Virginia, where he ran strong.
This after having leads in the final pre-election polls ranging from the mid-teens to 20 points, reminiscent of his first re-election race, back in 2014, when he led big down the stretch in his race with Republican Ed Gillespie, before ultimately winning by less than a percentage point.
It wasn’t that close in the end this time around, but Gade – who was outspent by more than $9 million – certainly made things interesting.
Because Democrat-vote-rich Northern Virginia didn’t report much of its vote until late in the night, Gade was ahead in the counting for most of the prime time.
The bulk of Warner’s margin came from one locality – Fairfax County – which the Democrat won by 229,000 votes.
Warner will begin his third term in the Senate in January.
Virginia’s other senator, Tim Kaine, is also a Democrat.
It’s looking at this writing that they will continue as members of the minority party. Republicans had to defend 23 of the 35 Senate seats up for re-election Tuesday, and at the moment, Republican candidates appear to be poised to hold 17 seats, with 15 seats looking to go Democratic, and three right now looking like toss-ups.
Story by Chris Graham