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October, 25th 2007

So, Tom Davis isn't running after all

– Liz Mair

I'm late in the day posting on this, but we all learned today, definitively, that Tom Davis isn't going to be running for John Warner's Senate seat in Virginia.

I'll be the first to say this is a shame. I think Davis would be best placed to beat Mark Warner.

But, I also understand why he's not doing it. In a campaign against a well-known character like M. Warner, the only real shot a Republican will have, in my view, is to get to the task of reaching out to a wide swathe of voters early-- as opposed to concentrating on the active GOP faithful, which is exactly what would be required in order to win a nomination via a convention, as opposed to a primary. That the process chosen by the Virginia GOP (convention) will probably hurt Jim Gilmore, too, is not in doubt so far as I am concerned. He, too, will spend months making nice with the state party bods, instead of talking to ordinary voters, whose support he will need come November 2008. But, at the end of the day, with more of the state party than not deeming itself "conservative," Gilmore benefits at least a little from a convention, insofar as it makes it easier for him to get the nomination (on the basis that he too is "conservative"-- admittedly, I don't think much more so than me, which should raise some questions for some of our super-conservative state party members here in the Old Dominion)-- if not win the actual election, due to time-wasting and narrow outreach.

If I were Davis, I probably would have at least strongly considered pulling out, for just this reason. -- though I personally still think it's a shame that he has. Ultimately, Gilmore and I have a lot of views in common (in fact, that is possibly more the case than with, perhaps, a maximum of another 10 well-known Republicans, full-stop). But I think it's going to be incredibly tough for him to beat Warner, given that he hasn't been on the scene in VA much since 2001, what he's mainly known for to the influx of voters in the northern bit of the state (which has a propensity to decide elections, and is Democratic-leaning) is running a failing presidential campaign, and, well, just given that VA is no longer the friendly territory it once was for Republicans. But I'll hold out some hope. To be sure, Mark Warner isn't nearly as scary to me as, say, Eliot Spitzer would be. But he is a tax-hiker, and that's something I don't like much.

Whether Gilmore can get his name out there and remind voters of what I don't like about Warner remains to be seen. But, in any event, I think it's fair to say that today, we got an indication that next year, Virginia's going to be even less a barrel of laughs than it was in 2006, or is shaping up to be this year.

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