Former RNC chair Ed Gillespie announces Senate run against Virginia’s Warner

posted at 10:11 pm on January 16, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

You might say, the map has expanded in 2014.

Ed Gillespie for Senate:

WASHINGTON — Former Republican Party chairman Ed Gillespie jumped into the U.S. Senate race in Virginia on Thursday, taking aim at Democratic incumbent Mark Warner in one of the nation’s most-watched swing states.

“I’m running for Senate because the American Dream is being undermined by policies that move us away from constitutional principles of limited government and personal liberty,” Gillespie said in a campaign video.

Gillespie, a longtime communications strategist and political operative, has been talking to Virginia GOP activists for weeks as he assessed a challenge to Warner, a popular ex-governor who has already socked away $7.1 million for the 2014 campaign. Gillespie has told people in Virginia that he believes the Senate race is “winnable.”

But Gillespie faces an uphill battle as becomes a first-time candidate.

Here’s his intro video, stressing his humble roots and rise from Senate car-parker to West Wing adviser:

A little stilted at moments, but strikes a nice, measured tone, hitting Warner for voting to increase the national debt by trillions and backing ObamaCare. I particularly like the line about the “new normal” being the “old mediocre,” and that the future can look better. Warner is an extremely popular politician, but he’s voted for extremely unpopular things. The fact that Gillespie, who’s no political novice despite being a first-time candidate, is throwing in illustrates how generous Republicans think the wave might be in 2014.

Warner responds by saying “Bush.”

Well before the low-key debut of Gillespie’s website, the Senate Democrats’ campaign committee began attacking Gillespie’s work as a lobbyist for companies such as Enron and his tenure in the Bush administration. The Democrats are also highlighting Gillespie’s support of a comprehensive immigration overhaul with a path to citizenship, arguing his policy views could spark problems with Tea Party conservatives in Virginia.

“When Virginians get to know Ed Gillespie, they won’t like what they see,” said Matt Canter, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “The last thing Virginians need in Washington is a career lobbyist with a partisan history of slash-and-burn politics that divides Virginians.

Said the party that just elected Terry McAuliffe governor.


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Warner responds by saying “Bush.”

That’s all they have beyond “derp”.

Will no one save this poor chicken?

2014 should be interesting providing the GOP don’t screw it up somehow.

kim roy on January 16, 2014 at 10:16 PM

Oh great, another RINO throws his hat in the ring.

rickv404 on January 16, 2014 at 10:16 PM

He’s a “meh” candidate. In the purple state of Virginia it’d be nice to have him. Hopefully he can pull off the upset.

Donald Draper on January 16, 2014 at 10:17 PM

Well, I can’t believe anyone, who’s a communications expert, can not defeat any Democrat running. We have a President who is a proven liar, who has continuously circumvented the constitution, and has no respect for the legislative process. There has been no Democrat, none, who has held him to account for this. One half of a legislative body and one party can not hold a president responsible, but it should be in the interest of both parties to not allow this president to act lawlessly.

If I were any Republican, running against a Democrat, I would find a way to ask them why they have done nothing about this. I would ask them why there has been no serious investigation of the scandals of this administration, especially the IRS and Fast and Furious. I believe all Democrats need to answer these questions and all Republicans need to be on record as opposing President Obama’s unlawful and unconstitutional actions. If we’re to change the constitution to read that the party that wins the White House and one chamber of the legislature, gets to make all the rules, then let’s change the constitution because you know the duplicitous Democrats would be screaming if a Republican were acting this way. So why are they letting Obama do this stuff? I’d like to see them on record as supporting this and then let the voting begin.

bflat879 on January 16, 2014 at 10:23 PM

I hope Nancy Mace makes it to the Senate. The difference between the Republicans and Democrats is that one looks for women and Hispanic candidates and the other plays “My turn!”

Marcus on January 16, 2014 at 10:27 PM

…wish him luck!

KOOLAID2 on January 16, 2014 at 10:30 PM

This guy is an establishment republican. What does he know about the constitution, limited government, or personal liberty? He is nothing but a dirtbag professional politician. Good luck with him Virginia.

paulsur on January 16, 2014 at 10:30 PM

The last thing Virginians need in Washington is a career lobbyist with a partisan history of slash-and-burn politics that divides Virginians.

I about choked when I read that. Then you followed it up with exactly what I was thinking…

Said the party that just elected Terry McAuliffe governor.

I live in Virginia and hate seeing the direction it has gone.

behiker on January 16, 2014 at 10:31 PM

hitting Warner for voting to increase the national debt by trillions

Why is that a problem, MK? I thought your heroes, the GOP “moderates”, were just governing based on reality (or something) when they voted with Mark Warner to increase the debt ceiling and pass budgets with increased spending, time after time after time.

How on earth is Warner any different than Paul Ryan and Bob Corker, Mark Kirk and Miss Lindsey Graham? Clearly Gillespie is positioning himself with the hateful extremists of the Tea Party!

Jaibones on January 16, 2014 at 10:35 PM

This is encouraging news..Ed Gillespie will make a very good candidate..This is encouraging..:)

Dire Straits on January 16, 2014 at 10:47 PM

Will he quit by March? He does have a history of that, you know.

Steve Eggleston on January 16, 2014 at 10:47 PM

Gillespie is a huge amnesty supporter so Mary Katharine and the rest of the HA authors will love this guy. The posters, not so much.

bw222 on January 16, 2014 at 10:48 PM

The difference between the Republicans and Democrats is that one looks for women and Hispanic candidates and the other plays “My turn!”

Marcus

Yeah, let’s court candidates based on their skin color and their genitalia.

xblade on January 16, 2014 at 10:49 PM

From Wikipedia:

Edward W. Gillespie (born August 1, 1961) is an American Republican political strategist who served as the 61st Chairman of the Republican National Committee, senior advisor to Mitt Romney 2012 and former Counselor to the President in the George W. Bush White House. Gillespie, along with Jack Quinn, former Chief of Staff to Vice President Al Gore, founded Quinn Gillespie & Associates, a bipartisan lobbying firm. Gillespie is also the founder of Ed Gillespie Strategies, a strategic consulting firm that provides high-level advice to companies and CEOs, coalitions, and trade associations, and together with Karl Rove, founded Crossroads GPS. Gillespie in January of 2014 announced he was running for Virginia’s Senate seat Currently Held by Mark Warner in the 2014 elections.

At least we won’t have to worry about Thomas Donohue, President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, buying Gillespie. The Chamber already owns Gillespie.

bw222 on January 16, 2014 at 10:57 PM

Gillespie should have no trouble raising money..:)

Dire Straits on January 16, 2014 at 11:02 PM

Will he quit by March? He does have a history of that, you know.

Steve Eggleston on January 16, 2014 at 10:47 PM

?

Me thinks you have him confused with someone else.Gillespie has never run for any office before.

celtic warrior on January 16, 2014 at 11:02 PM

He excites me about as much as that guy from Minnesota who ran last time whose name I can’t remember.

SouthernGent on January 16, 2014 at 11:02 PM

. . . . . (Ed Gillespie) hitting Warner for voting to increase the national debt by trillions . . . . .

Mary Katharine Ham on January 16, 2014 at 10:11 PM

.
Why is that a problem, MK? I thought your heroes, the GOP “moderates”, were just governing based on reality (or something) when they voted with Mark Warner to increase the debt ceiling and pass budgets with increased spending, time after time after time.

Jaibones on January 16, 2014 at 10:35 PM

.
? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! . . . . . . . . . . .

On what basis did you end up with these “thoughts”?

If MKH ever voiced agreement with that, I must’ve missed it (and I do, occasionally).
.

How on earth is Warner any different than Paul Ryan and Bob Corker, Mark Kirk and Miss Lindsey Graham? Clearly Gillespie is positioning himself with the hateful extremists of the Tea Party!

Jaibones on January 16, 2014 at 10:35 PM

.
I hope so. I can see how that might be a problem to you, but not Mary.

listens2glenn on January 16, 2014 at 11:11 PM

Sometimes I think I’ll have to run.

ramblingirl on January 16, 2014 at 11:11 PM

Gillespie should have no trouble raising money..:)

Dire Straits on January 16, 2014 at 11:02 PM

Of course not. Ed is running around K Street with a “For Sale or Rent” sign around his neck.

bw222 on January 16, 2014 at 11:16 PM

bw222 on January 16, 2014 at 11:16 PM

There is nothing wrong with raising money for a campaign..It is a fact you have to have it to launch a successful campaign..With Gillespie’s rolodex I would think he could raise money..:)

Dire Straits on January 16, 2014 at 11:24 PM

Meh, we’ll see if he can beat Warner.

I live in Virginia and hate seeing the direction it has gone.

behiker on January 16, 2014 at 10:31 PM

Terry Mac was certainly a surprise. Oh well, he has to deal with Bill Howell.

Punchenko on January 16, 2014 at 11:31 PM

With Gillespie’s rolodex I would think he could raise money..:)

Dire Straits on January 16, 2014 at 11:24 PM

Rolodex? You’re so 1980s Dire.

bw222 on January 16, 2014 at 11:33 PM

Rolodex? You’re so 1980s Dire.

bw222 on January 16, 2014 at 11:33 PM

LoLz..That was borrowing from the 80′s phrase..:)

Dire Straits on January 16, 2014 at 11:39 PM

Warner’s popularity was always ahead of his effectiveness. But he remains popular.

The GOP’s advantage is that this is a midterm and the Democrats have yet to demonstrate they can turn out their base of parasites and young people for “mere” congressional and state races without the “celebrity” Obama on the ballot. Blacks turned out in record numbers for Obama, too, but Warner isn’t him.

The disadvantage is the party in Virginia is fractured after the butt-hurt remaining over the statewide office nomination fights. If they unite and back their nominee, he will have a good chance of winning. If not, we’ll have another 2013 there.

Adjoran on January 16, 2014 at 11:42 PM

Warner’s popularity was always ahead of his effectiveness. But he remains popular.

The GOP’s advantage is that this is a midterm and the Democrats have yet to demonstrate they can turn out their base of parasites and young people for “mere” congressional and state races without the “celebrity” Obama on the ballot. Blacks turned out in record numbers for Obama, too, but Warner isn’t him.

The disadvantage is the party in Virginia is fractured after the butt-hurt remaining over the statewide office nomination fights. If they unite and back their nominee, he will have a good chance of winning. If not, we’ll have another 2013 there.

Adjoran on January 16, 2014 at 11:42 PM

They turned out voters for Terry Mac & Friends. The game has changed.

Mark Warner is also no Terry Mac — people actually like Warner and think he is a swell guy with that big toothy smile. He also has $$$ and friends littered throughout the state.

So, what does Ed offer? Well, he will raise $$$ but will fall flat everywhere else. His snoozefest announcement sleeping pill is a bad omen of awkward, uninspiring campaigning to come. Hell, he’s even using Terry Mac’s campaign color scheme.

Punchenko on January 16, 2014 at 11:59 PM

Here’s his intro video, stressing his humble roots and rise from Senate car-parker to West Wing adviser:

No one cares. People care about what he’s going to do for them if he becomes Senator. The country is in a much different place then it was in the 1980s, sadly. And putting George W. Bush in the ad was just stupid.

Punchenko on January 17, 2014 at 12:05 AM

The reality is Warner will be extremely difficult to beat. I suppose Gillespie has a shot, since he’s the type of Republican that can win in VA. It’s too bad he didn’t run against McAuliffe. He’d have won rather easily.

GOPRanknFile on January 17, 2014 at 12:44 AM

This is encouraging news..Ed Gillespie will make a very good candidate..This is encouraging..:)

Dire Straits on January 16, 2014 at 10:47 PM

He’s probably the worst person for the job. I hope he gets beat by a tea party republican. :)

promachus on January 17, 2014 at 1:32 AM

Marcus on January 16, 2014 at 10:27 PM

Nancy Mace is a feminazi fraud.
That trash attended a school that was wrongly forced to accept females- she was the first fem-trash to graduate from the Citadel…even though she had no business attending there to start-and she was buddy-buddy w/ the scum that tried to smear Nikki Haley as an adulteress.

Nancy Mace is a trojan horse who doesn’t deserve to be elected dog catcher.

annoyinglittletwerp on January 17, 2014 at 5:29 AM

Well he is a Catholic University grad like Terry McAuliffe so there’s that! Go Cardinals!

txmomof6 on January 17, 2014 at 6:38 AM

Rich white republican men supporting diversity except in the job they want! How different. Why didn’t they run a minority for minority outreach?

Gillespie is part of the anti-veteran, pro-amnesty crowd that makes republicans vote third party. Send a message to the establishment.

TAARP on January 17, 2014 at 6:45 AM

Hey, the VA GOP is fractured thanks to rat bastards like Bolling and other surrender weasels who helped McAuliffe when they didn’t get their way. It helps that Gillespie isn’t seen as a VA GOP insider.

Happy Nomad on January 17, 2014 at 7:17 AM

Congratulations to Senator-reelect Mark Warner, I guess.

Once again, the fix is in.

Myron Falwell on January 17, 2014 at 7:23 AM

Since he has the full support and enthusiastic backing of Karl Rove, what could go wrong?

deimos on January 17, 2014 at 7:34 AM

I can see Oily Ed Gillespie pulling in his 1.5% of the black vote right now….

The Establishment is CLUELESS. Utterly Clueless.

Mark Warner is going to beat this guy like a drum. Watch. Ed won’t run any ads on Obamacare and Common Core, because that’s what the Hoi Polloi over in Palinland who are interested in actually WINNING would do to get out the conservative vote.

Can’t have that, now!

Congratulations to Mark Warner on his upcoming eight-point margin spread re-elect.

Jesus wept.

victor82 on January 17, 2014 at 8:15 AM

BTW, after Oily Ed is “safely nominated”, Warner’s ad people will run Karl Rove and Koch Brothers ads all throughout the summer to define Gillespie as a No-Good Unprincipled Kickback Lobbyist.

Ed won’t counterattack, he’ll try to talk about The Future, because That’s What Bushtards Do.

Jesus, a five-year old could write the negative ad campaign that’s going to run Gillespie into the ground.

This is so sad.

victor82 on January 17, 2014 at 8:18 AM

Operation Keep the seat Progressive begins in Va.

The gop /rnc finds a candidate or more than one (Texas 2014 for example) that will hold the seat for a BigGov lover. One that will play the game. Multiple candidates can be used to siphon off votes and split the Limited Government Conservative vote.

We will see the same thing in 2016 in the gop primaries.

Huckabee is at the ready just waiting for the call from the big donor base.

PappyD61 on January 17, 2014 at 8:26 AM

Rove’s partner, another rino hack. Since 2010, Gillespie, has done everything in his power to suppress conservative/tea party influence w/his backroom deals. His reward, they give him the senate nomination for Va.. Can we stop this bullsh*t. Then you wonder why the republican brand is getting smaller and smaller.

Can the RNC and the establishment swill STOP picking our candidates.

Danielvito on January 17, 2014 at 8:44 AM

Yeah, let’s court candidates based on their skin color and their genitalia.

xblade on January 16, 2014 at 10:49 PM

I understand what you’re saying but the reality is that we let the Democrats establish the rules of the game. Now, we either play by them or we don’t play. If you don’t play, you lose by default.

Kafir on January 17, 2014 at 9:11 AM

Time for Warner to go. Let’s not forget, he voted for the Obamacare mess.

Amazingoly on January 17, 2014 at 10:20 AM

The Democrats did *not* elect McAuliffe. It was the very likes of Gillespie, i.e., the RNC and RPV. They starved Cucinelli for funds, when he was running against the DNC money-man himself. They massaged Cucinelli’s message, to make it all about jobs, and money (isn’t that ironic?). It wasn’t until Mr. C. began to speak about Obamacare, and the things that strike to the hearts of conservatives, that he became competitive in the race, but it was too late. The establishment won by losing, which appears to have been their plan ever since Cucinelli became the Republican nominee.

We already have Gillespie’s Democrat clone in our governor’s office. Party chair, “bipartisan” lobbyist (in a firm he founded with Democrat Jack Quinn, former Chief of Staff to Vice President Al Gore), establishment elitist. No matter how “humble” his roots appear in his video, a quick google search says his net worth is about $8 million. He has no idea.

I don’t have a horse in this race yet, but I know clearly who will NOT have my support.

VA Outpost on January 17, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Warner should be as vulnerable as Mark Pryor or Mary Landrieu. All of them ran as “blue dog” moderate, pro-business Democrats but have voted in lockstep with Dirty Harry Reid. Warner’a a long way from his first race for Governor and is now just another establishment pol; but now he is a pol who runs one way and votes another.

And the Dems sure can’t run a class-warfare campaign with billionaire Mark Warner on the ticket.

Gillespie is in line with all of the Republicans who have won statewide in Virginia in recent years. The notion that Virginia was ever a super-conservative state or could be one is dumb. It’s a middle-of-the-road state that elects middle-of-the-road politicians. Sort of like Tennessee. The problem for Mark Warner is that he has run as another John Warner but voted like Al Franken. If Gillespie can focus on that he has a good chance.

Y’all can hoot about RINOs all you want, but you can’t change the electorate in these border states. They’re not going to elect a Sarah Palin clone.

rockmom on January 17, 2014 at 11:08 AM

Of all of the “Republicans” out there, this is who we are going to get stuck with? If this guy is the nominee, I will be voting Democrat (or possibly Constitution party or not voting) for the first time in my life. There is nobody on the Republican side that I think is worse for Republicans than Gillespie–and that includes the likes of Graham and McCain. By electing Gillespie, we are essentially just putting in someone who is going to support almost all of the same things Democrats support (at least the ones that will pass) meaning we will have to listen to the this is “bipartisan” BS even more.

If you want an example, go take a look at one of his projects, “Resurgent Republic.”

http://www.resurgentrepublic.com/research/immigration-reform-through-the-lens-of-republican-primary-voters

Conservative in NOVA on January 17, 2014 at 11:41 AM

Marcus on January 16, 2014 at 10:27 PM

Nancy Mace is a feminazi fraud.
That trash attended a school that was wrongly forced to accept females- she was the first fem-trash to graduate from the Citadel…even though she had no business attending there to start-and she was buddy-buddy w/ the scum that tried to smear Nikki Haley as an adulteress.

Nancy Mace is a trojan horse who doesn’t deserve to be elected dog catcher.

annoyinglittletwerp on January 17, 2014 at 5:29 AM

This. ^
I hope Grahamnesty goes, but Mace is not the answer.

So, VA HotGassers, what realistically is Warner’s floor in the state for this cycle? 48? Is it even under 50? He remains a popular empty suit, though the same could have been said about Pryor two years ago. Yet, we don’t have the PVI in VA that we do in AR, so I’d have to think his support is a little thicker… Can’t see this being better than Lean D, though I’m all in favor of expanding the map and taking a shot.

Gingotts on January 17, 2014 at 12:44 PM

He’s probably the worst person for the job. I hope he gets beat by a tea party republican. :)

promachus on January 17, 2014 at 1:32 AM

LoLz..Worst person for the job??!!??..At least he is willing to try..I think that even if the odds are long for Gillespie he could make it interesting..:)

Dire Straits on January 17, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Danielvito on January 17, 2014 at 8:44 AM

I’m sorry but looks like Gillespie has been going around the Commonwealth of VA and doing some homework..Gillespie has made the choice to run..:)

Dire Straits on January 17, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Horrible.

He presided over some of the darkest years of the GOP. His closest associations are Liddy Dole, George Bush, and George Allen.

Can we do no better? Warner will have a field day with this in purple VA. If the GOP establishment backs Gillespie, we’re going to lose. These are the same people who lecture us about the tea party costing us elections.

SAMinVA on January 17, 2014 at 4:17 PM