Warner Speculations

Okay, so even if I am a little tired of announcements of announcements (you get that Fred? You killed it! It’s over!) this one has got me pretty stoked. Tomorrow, former Virginia Governor Mark Warner will be announcing his future political plans.

As it stands right now Warner has three avenues that lie before him. First, there is much talk of him being tapped to for running mate status in the General Election, then there is the possibility that he can run again for Governor of Virginia, or opt to replace Senator Warner as… um… Senator Warner.

There is a long shot fourth option wherein he gets on a microphone and tells people to quit making political speculations about him because when he said he wanted to spend time with his family he really meant it. Probably not going to happen, but I’m throwing it out there just in case.

The fact is, Mark Warner may not be an Obama-like rockstar for the Democratic Party, but he does embody an ideal candidate. A self made millionair, Mark Warner entered Virginia politics with a centrist sensibility. Drawing heavily off of Clintonian fiscal responsibility, Warner was able to balance Virginia’s budget and make the state one of the most business friendly states in the union. At the same time, however, he also managed to provide for a universal healthcare system for children.

This in one term as the state constitution does not allow for consecutive gubernatorial terms.

The end result is a Democrat who left office in a red state in the South with an approval rating that hovered in the seventies which, I shouldn’t need to tell you, is simply phenomenal.

Not long after he left office, there was a significant movement to draft Warner for the upcoming presidential race, but he declined, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.

While Warner dropped out of the insider spotlight, whispers still surfaced every once in a while, particularly upon the announcement that John Warner, the Republican senator for Virginia, was retiring.

Now, considering that Warner is actually making an announcement tomorrow, I find it unlikely he’s going to bank on, or even accept a vice presidential spot. If that were the case, he would most likely be shunning the spotlight on himself as much as possible while at the same time possibly doing a little work for his candidate of choice, or at the very least remaining impartial so whomever did actually pick up the nomination would give him the nod.

Following up on this bit of logic, it also would make more sense for the announcement not to come from Warner himself, but by the campaign who has opted to choose him because that would undoubtedly result in a considerable bump in primary polling.

Which really makes it a decision between another stint as Governor, or a bid for the Senate. That, boys and girls, is completely and totally up in the air, and depends greatly on what his future aspirations in politics are, and how he plans on achieving them.

If he merely wants to serve the Virginian people, I would be more likely to lean towards him pushing to be governor again as he would have a much greater ability to impact Virginians that way. However if he truly does have aspirations for the White House, it’s a toss up between the Senate and Richmond. True, Governor experience is better for presidential bids, but while Warner may be well placed among Virginians, his national notoriety is comparably low, and a term in the Senate could help him there. Further, a single senate term beginning in 09 would have the added benefit of him leaving the senate just in time to get an early jump on campaigning for the White House following a presumptive 8 year Democratic President.

In either case, it’s hard to imagine Warner not winning either race, whichever he chooses to jump into. There are hardly any Republican politicians that could match him for popularity in the Gubernatorial race, and early polls already show Warner beating prospective Republican rivals by very wide margins for the Senate.

Going off a pure gut feeling, I want to say Warner will choose the Senate, which would have a very interesting impact on the national political landscape.

Tim Kaine will still be governor of Virginia for 08, Jim Webb is the other Senator, and with Warner running as a very strong frontrunner for the other seat, Virginia for the General Election will effectively be a blue state. Very good news for whomever picks up the Democratic nomination next year.

2 Responses to “Warner Speculations”

  1. fester says:

    Kyle — I agree with 99% of this piece, but I want to throw in a thought on Senators v. Governors. I know historically Governors trounce Senators, but with McCain Feingold combined with the frontloading of primaries that strongly incentivizes campaigns to raise as much money AND national organization as possible, the Senator’s legal ability to effectively raise funds and organization four to six years out in their federal campaign accounts provides a massive edge over governors who have to start from scratch as they can not access their state-campaign accounts.

  2. Er, yeah, that would also be a part of it.

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