The election is nine months away, but the challengers looking to unseat Democrat Mark Warner from the U.S. Senate are lining up.
Four Republicans have filed paperwork to be considered for the party’s nomination: Edward “Ed” Gillespie, an Alexandria communications consultant, former White House aide and the former chairman of the Republican National Committee; Anthony “Tony” DeTora, a Fredricksburg resident who serves as a senior policy adviser for California’s Rep. Dana Rohrabacher; Wayshak “Shak” Hill, a Centreville resident who is a retired U.S. Air Force pilot and a financial planning consultant; and Charles “Chuck” Moss, a Nokesville man who owns a network consulting business.
Along with the four Republican challengers, Libertarian Robert C. Sarvis — who won 6.52 percent of the vote as the Libertarian candidate for governor of Virginia in the 2013 election — has also announced he wants run for Warner’s seat. The Libertarian Party of Virginia will nominate its candidate Saturday in Richmond.
“While it’s a long way to June, and even further to November, I can say one thing with absolute certainty: each of these four men would be a far better U.S. Senator than Mark Warner, and I look forward to working with our eventual nominee to return Mark Warner to the private sector,” Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins said in a statement.
RPV will select its candidate to run against Warner at the June 7 convention in Roanoke.
Warner, the senior senator from Virginia, is currently finishing out his first term.
“I am asking Virginians to rehire me to keep fighting for bipartisan, common sense solutions to create jobs, get our fiscal house in order, and ensure that all Virginians have a fair shot at economic opportunity,” Warner said in a January statement. “I am proud of my record of working across party lines to put Virginia and our nation first. … I look forward to putting my independent, bipartisan record up against whichever candidate the Republicans nominate at their convention in June.”
“If elected, I’ll be a servant of the people of Virginia. And a leader for policies that grow the middle class and foster upward mobility, enabling people to lift themselves out of poverty,” Gillespie said in the video, “policies that will make life better for working families and those who want to work but can’t now find a job.”
A request for comment from the Gillespie campaign was not returned by the time this article was published.
“Many of us had high hopes that Senator Warner would have honored his pledge to represent Virginia to Washington. Unfortunately, five years later, Mr. Warner’s voting record confirms that he votes 97 percent with Harry Reid and is no longer representing Virginia,” Hill told WYDaily. “In fact, he promised us on video that he would not vote for a healthcare bill that took away our right to choose but he voted for it anyway. He has disappointed us and as such should not be our senator.”
On his website, Hill links to this YouTube video from Warner.
DeTora said on his campaign website he believes the checks and balances woven into the U.S. Constitution have been frayed over the past 200 years.
“I want Virginians, and all Americans, to live free from the burdens of government domination,” DeTora said in an email to WYDaily. “Sen. Mark Warner has a record in Washington of imposing those burdens – undermining the blessings of liberty, decreasing happiness, and weighing down economic opportunity. Washington must make a choice to trust Americans, rather than trying to control them. To accomplish that, Virginia’s first step is to send the right people to Washington.”
Sarvis told WYDaily he will run if he is nominated by the Libertarian Party at their convention in Richmond on Saturday.
“Many of the themes I ran on last year, like cronyism and government overreach, apply even more forcefully to the federal government,” Sarvis said. “The federal government is doing too much, it’s doing most of it poorly, it’s wasting taxpayer money, people are suffering, and our rights are being infringed. It makes a lot of sense to keep the most important issues before the voters and offer them a candidate, party, and platform worth voting for. It makes sense to try to build on the momentum we had last year, to recruit more candidates who adhere to libertarian principles, to put wind in their sails by campaigning with them, and to convince more people that the only way to achieve a more open and competitive political system is to vote against the two-party system and invest in a mainstream Libertarian Party offering workable solutions.”
Moss has run a networking consulting business since 1996, working with clients from several industries and the Department of Defense.
“Increasingly the challenges our country faces in both security and the economy require an understanding of the technology involved,” Moss wrote in an email WYDaily. “I have many years of experience solving technical challenges for clients in a cost-effective manner. If elected I will bring my engineering skills and small business perspective to Washington to produce better legislation and more effective oversight.”