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Gillespie Holding Out for a Red Virginia


Election night was a nail-biter for incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Warner, who had been expected to coast to victory. His badly outspent Republican challenger, Ed Gillespie, defied ALL of the polls leading up to election day—and took the lead throughout the evening until Fairfax County’s vote totals were finally reported. The wave that swept Republicans into the majority in the U.S. Senate nearly engulfed Virginia.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Warner received 49 percent of the vote to 48 percent for Gillespie. Warner’s nearly 1.1 million votes were less than HALF of the 2.3 million votes that he won in the 2008 presidential election year, when turnout was substantially higher. Warner told a cheering crowd of supporters that voters wanted someone who could work across party lines.

The commitment I make to you is that I will go back to Washington and recognize that we’ve got to find that common ground. I know most of us here are Democrats, but neither political party has a monopoly on truth, or virtue, or patriotism. And in this new Senate, I’ll work with anyone—Democrat, Republican, Independent, you name it—if we’re going to make sure we get our country’s problems fixed.”

According to exit polls, the economy was the top concern of Virginia voters. About half said the Affordable Care Act was too far-reaching, while a quarter said the law is about right. Warner won a majority of women, but Gillespie won men and the majority of Caucasian women. Ninety percent of African-American voters backed Warner, as did the majority of lower-income and high-income voters. Libertarian Robert Sarvis won slightly more than 2 percent of the vote.

In a speech to his supporters, Gillespie said he will wait until all votes are counted and a canvass is conducted in all localities later today before he officially concedes.

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