Our View: Gillespie poised to take on Warner?

Posted: January 15, 2014

Turning to statewide politics on another front, it seems incumbent Sen. Mark Warner will likely face a challenge in November. Republican strategist Ed Gillespie appears poised to take on Virginia’s senior senator and hopes to turn around the recent fortunes of the GOP in statewide races.

And, if Mr. Gillespie leaps into the race as expected, The Post notes such an “announcement will instantly change the race into a matchup of national figures with strong fundraising skills.” Mr. Gillespie is a former Republican National Committee leader who also served in the Bush administration and is the most well-known of any Republicans pondering a run against Mr. Warner.

The senator, for his part, has amassed a war chest for reelection, and The Post reminds us that a Quinnipiac poll from last fall “put (Mr.) Warner’s job approval rating at 61 percent, well above that of any other Virginia officeholder.”

But that was before the failed rollout of ObamaCare, and Sen. Warner’s unwavering support of President Obama’s signature program. Republicans are banking on the continued failure of ObamaCare and a facility in tying Mr. Warner not only to its shortcomings but to the president himself. Mr. Gillespie has already stated that Mr. Warner has voted with President Obama “97 percent of the time.” Expect the state GOP to make this voting record an open book.

Still, the senator has been most disappointing on ObamaCare, opting to stand firm with the liberal left rather than stand up for the people of Virginia. November is still a long way away, but whether Republicans can select a strong enough candidate and mount a sufficiently robust campaign to win a statewide election for the first time since 2009 may have a lot to do with ObamaCare.

The problems are only beginning to bubble to the surface, and when the shoe drops on the implementation of the employer mandate, it could be just before the November elections. How Mr. McAuliffe and the General Assembly face off on Medicaid expansion ties to the same issue and may impact those voting this fall.

Clearly, there will be no winter doldrums enveloping Virginia’s political scene.