February 28, 2007
There is a serious possibility that former Gov. Mark Warner may challenge Sen. John Warner in next year's election, which would be the second race between the two Warners. In 1996, the wealthy, charismatic businessman came within a few percentage points of unseating the incumbent, in spite of his complete lack of prior political experience. This set the stage for the Democrat's successful gubernatorial campaign in 2001. Since leaving office, Gov. Mark Warner briefly explored the possibility of running for president, and has set up a political action committee, "Forward Together," with Monica Dixon serving as its executive director. There are rumors that Sen. John Warner has suggested to Rep. Tom Davis that he should prepare to run for Warner's seat in case he decides not to run again. See Washington Post.
Meanwhile, many conservative Republicans in the Old Dominion are grumbling at Sen. Warner because of his criticism of the Bush administraiton's "surge" policy in Iraq, even though he is widely regarded as one of the most knowledgeable senators in terms of defense policy. They should pay higher regard to his national security credentials and consider the possibility that his criticisms are well founded. If a conservative emerges to challenge Warner in the Republican primaries next year, it would further weaken the party and almost guarantee that a popular moderate such as Mark Warner would win the seat. Wouldn't that be something if both of Virginia's senate seats switched parties within the span of two years?