The Richmond Times-Dispatch ran an interesting article last week on Sen. John Warner’s (R-Va.) fundraising (or lack thereof) in the first quarter of 2007. While the news has been full of reports noting the vast war chests of many politicians, Warner reported raising only $500 since January of this year. With rumors swirling around about his potential retirement when his term ends next year, both Democrats and Republicans in Virginia are framing their plans for 2008 accordingly.
Democrats appear especially excited, as Sen. Warner’s victory has largely been a foregone conclusion in most of his previous campaigns. If he were to retire, they would have a chance to pick up a seat that has been in Republican hands since Sen. William Scott won it in 1973. This of course begs the question of who the Democrats should nominate to take the seat. Their best chance would probably be to follow the mold created by moderate Democrats such as former Gov. Mark Warner and current Gov. Tim Kaine, popular politicians that emphasized their centrist views in their successful campaigns. In fact, Mark Warner may actually be an ideal candidate to challenge the Republican nominee in 2008, be it Warner or another candidate. As the article notes, he actually ran against Sen. Warner for the seat in 1996 and lost only by five percentage points. After a popular tenure as governor (term limits prevented him from running again in 2005), his candidacy for the Senate in 2008 may help further the revitalization of Democratic Party politics in the Old Dominion. -Welton Blount, US Editor