Monday, November 19, 2007

The Battle Is on in Virginia

Ex-governor Mark Warner vs. ex-governor Jim Gilmore, running to replace the retiring Senator John Warner.

Mark Warner announced he would run months ago. Gilmore waited until this morning.

Mark Warner and Jim Gilmore apparently don't like each other and don't bother concealing that fact. Warner succeeded Gilmore in the governorship and had to clean up a large budget shortfall Gilmore left him. Warner left office in 2007 with a popularity rating in the high 70s. Gilmore is a scrappy conservative who did things like intervene in a death-with-dignity case similar to the Terri Schiavo tragedy. After leaving the governorship, Gilmore served a term as chair of the National Republican Committee, and for a time last year he said he wanted to be president of the United States. When he dropped out of that race, nobody noticed. (Larry Sabato, University of Virginia political science prof, said Gilmore's fake run for the presidency may have been an elaborate ploy to boost his profile for the Senate run he's now embarked on.)

A recent Washington Post poll has Mark Warner beating Gilmore by 30 percentage points. Which means, naturally, that Gilmore will go negative almost immediately. But Warner ain't no de-clawed pussycat. Plus he has the money to fight back.

We in North Carolina will have a ringside seat on the battle.

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