Q&A Friday #74: Virginia And Mark Warner

Question: “I’m a long time reader, first time writing. I live in Virginia and am beginning to wonder what is happening to my red state. I live in JoAnn Davis’ district so my area is not a worry. I think the proximity to D.C. is sucking the brains out of northern Va. Its looking like there might not be a republican with enough draw to keep John Warners senate seat from falling to Mark Warner. There is some talk about maybe Eric Cantor could muster enough support. I was wondering if you’ve heard anything about a possible Cantor senate run or maybe someone else who might be able to stop the Mark Warner express?” — Steve O’Neal

Answer: First of all, it’s not that Virginia is turning blue per se. If George Allen would have gone head to head with Jim Webb 10 times, he would have beaten him 9 of them, but the climate was so unfavorable for Republicans in 2006 that Webb managed to eke out a victory.

Mark Warner, on the other hand, is a superbeast. In my opinion, he would have been the strongest candidate the Democrats could have put up for President and he’s very popular in Virginia. Whether Tom Davis, James Gilmore, George Allen, Eric Cantor or someone else goes up against him, they’re probably going to start 10-15 points in the hole.

On the upside, there are no guarantees, but I think the national climate for Republicans will probably be significantly better in September of 2008 than it is today. Moreover, if Hillary is the nominee, she’s very polarizing and not only will she turn out Republicans in Virginia, she may shave a few points off of Warner’s support if the GOP candidate can tie her around Warner’s ankles.

So, it will certainly be an uphill battle for the GOP to hold that VA Senate seat, but it’s possible that we could pull it off.

PS: As far as a candidate goes, I’m in the anyone but Tom Davis camp.

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