For those of unfamiliar with this, both Warners were political opponents nearly twenty years ago:Retired Republican Sen. John Warner endorsed his Democratic successor and onetime rival Mark Warner on Monday in his race against Ed Gillespie.
The 86-year-old told POLITICO that the state benefits from the seniority in the Senate that the 59-year-old Warner (the two are not related) is accumulating. The former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee also praised the younger Warner – with whom he has developed a friendship since the two squared off in a race nearly two decades ago – for effectively advocating on behalf of the state’s large military presence.
John Warner had nothing negative to say about Gillespie, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee and senior adviser to George W. Bush.
“I’ve known him through the years. I haven’t talked to him. I just don’t know him anywhere near as well as I know Mark, nor have I had the close association,” he said. “I think he’s very well qualified in his own chosen expertise. He’s worked with legislative bodies, but he’s never served in one. But he’s a fine, reputable strong candidate.” - Politico, 1/27/14
Even though Mark Warner is considered safe, John Warner's endorsement will come in handy:The former Navy secretary defeated Mark Warner in the Democrat's first Senate campaign in 1996. Mark Warner, a multi-millionaire cell phone pioneer who had served as state Democratic Party chairman and helped run L. Douglas Wilder's campaign to become the nation's first black elected governor, lost by only 5 percentage points to the popular incumbent.
The surprisingly close race established Mark Warner as a rising Democratic star in a then-reliably Republican state. He was elected governor in 2001, then soundly defeated former Republican Gov. Jim Gilmore for the Senate seat after Warner retired in 2008.
Gillespie chaired the Republican National Committee from 2003 to 2005. He also served as counselor to President George W. Bush and as an adviser to Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign. He faces a little-known candidate, Shak Hill, for the GOP Senate nomination. - AP, 1/27/14
John Warner also recently donated money to Michelle Nunn's (D. GA) U.S. Senate campaign. John Warner is an old friend of Nunn's father, former Senator Sam Nunn (D. GA). John Warner was also one of the few Republican Senators to call on President Bush to start withdrawing troops from Iraq:This isn't the first time John Warner has gone against his own party and tipped the odds in a Democrat's favor. In 1994, the stalwart Virginia lawmaker refused to endorse Republican Oliver North's bid for Senate. The move ended up bolstering Democratic Sen. Chuck Robb, who was reelected by a narrow margin.
"John Warner epitomizes what it means to be a senator," Mark Warner told the AP after the elder Warner attended his Senate swearing-in ceremony in 2009. "He's been a great friend of mine, and I was so proud to have him there." - Huffington Post, 1/27/14
But it wasn't all bad news for Gillespie today:Senator John Warner, veteran of wars past and longtime Republican of Virginia, today called on President Bush to issue a strong signal to the Iraqi government by withdrawing a small contingent of American troops home around Christmastime.
Senator Warner’s demand, if you will, was bookended by Mr. Bush’s speech yesterday in which he invoked the Vietnam experience and today’s gloomy new National Intelligence Estimate that basically suggested the Iraqi government can’t pull it together within six to 12 months without outside military support.
And the senator’s announcement followed his own trip to Iraq with Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan; the two of them have off and on traded the chairmanships of the Armed Services Committee depending on which party controlled the Senate. (Three-by-three, Mr. Warner mentioned today.)
Even though we’re in the so-called dog days of August, it’s been a heady week for news about Iraq and the Bush administration’s policies, with the Democratic and Republican candidates, as well as Mr. Bush, addressing the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Kansas City, Mo. All of the speeches and policy-driven reports are part of a layup on the war court to September’s much-anticipated (or dreaded, take your pick) report by American military commanders of how the president’s latest plan — the so-called surge or troop buildup — is working to quell the rampant, seemingly unstoppable violence that is called sectarian conflict or civil war, depending on your point of view.
Mr. Warner’s views also come amid nervousness among Republicans in a summer campaign at home that has seen anti-war ad campaigns and pressure ad campaigns from a new stay-the-course group led by former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer. The senator and other leading Republicans have attempted, over time, to express their own unease with the pace of war in the troubled nation, and the lack of the Iraqi government’s ability to meet certain benchmarks to counter the insurgents and terrorists and achieve some measure of stability. - New York Times, 8/23/07
And of course Gillespie is already trying to paint himself as a Tea Party Republican instead of George W. Bush's top guys:One of Virginia Senate candidate Ed Gillespie's (R) opponents for the GOP nomination is dropping his bid, citing Gillespie's overwhelming support to be the Republican candidate against Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.).
"To be blunt, the financial resources to continue this campaign for a statewide office are not available since Ed Gillespie has joined the race," Navy veteran Howie Lind (R) said in a statement.
"Hats off to Ed for being able to garner a large amount of funds in the short amount of time since he announced," he continued. "Statewide campaigns are very expensive and financial backing corresponds directly to political strength and the ability to win on Election Day."
Lind declined to endorse Gillespie in the statement — but his decision is the latest sign that Gillespie, a GOP power player and former Republican National Committee chairman, will face little competition for the Republican nomination. - The Hill, 1/27/14
Good luck with that.If elected U.S. senator from Virginia this November, former GOP Chairman Ed Gillespie vows he will oppose any policies that expand welfare, federal spending and the national debt — even if proposed by a Republican president.
As Republican National Committee chairman and then as a senior White House adviser to President George W. Bush, Mr. Gillespie, 52, did not publicly oppose the explosion in federal spending that Mr. Bush’s policies helped set off.
But now taking on popular Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Warner, Mr. Gillespie told The Washington Times that he is prepared to carve his own policy path as he makes his first bid for office.
“This is the first time I’ll be advocating Ed Gillespie’s policies, the things that I believe in, the things I want to do in elected office if I were in office,” he said in an interview Friday, where he touched on a variety of topics, including the economy, immigration and his opposition to same-sex marriage. - Washington Times, 1/26/14