It’s going to be a Sisyphean task for any GOP candidate to take on Warner in this environment. Davis is a relative unknown, while Gilmore is still remembered as having destroyed Virginia’s fiscal stability. Indeed, a big part of Warner’s claim to fame is that he fixed the mess Gilmore created. Then one candidate will have to get through any GOP primary without having been bloodied and with enough campaign cash to mount a serious challenge to the wealthy Democrat with a national rolodex of potential contributors. As of the time of this writing, Warner has raised almost $50,000 today via ActBlue. Not sure if the GOP could match that firepower, especially if funds are split between two or more primary candidates.
Then there’s the “if the election were held today” numbers from the same poll:
This is just the start. The GOP is going to try and hit Warner on a tax increase that he and the GOP state legislature used to pull Virginia out of its severe budget deficit. Based on the poll numbers above, it doesn’t look like Virginians are going to go for that tired line, especially since the tax code was restructured to actually alleviate the tax burden for many in that state.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee posted a video on a Web site, DontMarkWarner.com, with a clip from an ad Warner ran in his 2001 gubernatorial race in which Warner says, “I will not raise taxes.” The video then notes that the state raised taxes $1.4 billion during his tenure as governor.
“Listen, I am anxious to talk about my record as governor,” Warner said. “Some of these national folks coming in with these attacks – it’s classic Washington. An hour into the campaign and they’re already whaling away.”
With his record, I’d be looking forward to the campaign too.