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Larry Sabato: Mark Warner Might Run for Governor, Could Appoint His Senate Successor

by: lowkell

Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 17:27:17 PM EST

This gets interesting at around 11:38 of the video. According to Professor Sabato, "believe it or not there does appear to be some substance to [the rumor that Mark Warner might run for governor in 2013]." Why? Three good reasons: 1) "what sane person wouldn't be [frustrated with the U.S. Senate]"; 2) he enjoyed the governorship "a great deal"; 3) the governorship is a better platform to run for president than the U.S. Senate.

Also intriguing, if Warner runs and wins (which I assume he would), he gets to appoint his own successor to the U.S. Senate. As Professor Sabato says, "it's not a bad deal at all if Senator Warner decides to go for it." Nope, and it wouldn't be a bad deal for Virginia, as a Warner candidacy would almost guarantee that we wouldn't have to suffer through the horrors of Governor Kookinelli (not to mention LG Corey Stewart and AG Mark Obenshain for 4 years, plus a Republican-controlled General Assembly). Shuddderrrrrr. Heck, the more I think about this, and as much as I'm a Terry McAuliffe fan, I'm tempted (mostly kidding here) to start a "Draft Mark Warner for Governor" movement. Anyone interested?

lowkell :: Larry Sabato: Mark Warner Might Run for Governor, Could Appoint His Senate Successor
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Polls (0.00 / 0)
Once a poll is conducted that measures how well known McAuliffe is relative to Warner or just how likely either is to win against the Kook, then I'd be ready to make a judgment. I would assume, however, that Warner is more well known and better able to defeat any Republican challenger. Right now, whoever is the Democratic nominee for governor HAS to beat Kook on any other candidate that is hoisted up as the flag bearer for the extreme right crazies.

Perriello would make a nice U.S. Senator. What say you?  


Warner is by far the best known and most popular (0.00 / 0)
potential Democratic candidate for governor in 2013. No question there. As for Perriello, I'd LOVE LOVE LOVE to see him in the U.S. Senate. Great idea!

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[ Parent ]
Yessssssssssssssssssssssss!!! (0.00 / 0)
Warner as governor and Perriello as Senator sounds great.

[ Parent ]
I'd go for it (0.00 / 0)
With, at best, a heavily GOP House and a Senate tilted by an LG to the Dems, we should hope for someone like Warner, who might actually be able to squeeze blood from a stone and get something remotely positive through the House. I have no idea how they'd react to McAuliffe (as a Clinton surrogate and former DNC chair that's prone to theatrics? Probably not well at all), but odds are Warner could do it. If the choice is between T-Mac, Warner, and any of the others who've been rumored, I'd choose Warner.

I'm saving my opinions of T-Mac until he is in and has a primary challenger that I prefer. If that never comes to pass, I might as well go along, cause the alternative is bloody awful.

I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat.

~Will Rogers

As for a Senate replacement... (0.00 / 0)
the best choice is Don McEachin (if he's not AG or LG). There are currently no African-Americans in the Senate at all, and none appear to be running this year. It's hard to do better than him.  

I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat.

~Will Rogers

[ Parent ]
Also a great choice. (0.00 / 0)
Donald McEachin would be superb, as would Tom Perriello. But first, a minor detail -- we need to win the governor's mansion! :)

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[ Parent ]
More Likely (0.00 / 0)
I suspect Warner would want to turn to someone he is close to and trusts. And someone he'd feel better about putting up against McDonnell should that scenario play out.

Jody Wagner would be a likely pick for Warner. Paul Hirschbiel, depending on how his current Congressional run works out, would also be possible.

Alternatively, Warner may feel pressured earlier on to make a clear statement in favor of a caretaker so there can be some sort of primary process. Someone like Boucher could be a likely caretaker.

[ Parent ]
Why not get a potential long-term Senator started? (0.00 / 0)
I'm sort of biased towards Boucher having a greater role in the future somewhere. I think he's a great mind on a number of issues that aren't the sort of issues that end up getting hashed out in the blogs so much.

However, he's certainly not a permanent solution and maybe not the strongest statewide candidate for later. Who would he be a caretaker for? Why not throw someone that we expect to be a more likely permanent solution in there and get them started, sort of in the same manner that CO put Mike Bennett in the Senate to give him some momentum towards his eventual election.

I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat.

~Will Rogers

[ Parent ]
Colorado (0.00 / 0)
Bennett was not an overwhelmingly popular pick in Colorado at first, there were others who thought that they should have been given a chance at an open Senate seat, and Bennett did in fact face off against an opponent in the Democratic primary.

But I get what you're saying and I generally agree with it. I just disagree with the analogy to Colorado. If you had listed possible Senate candidates for 2012 in 2008, I doubt Bennett would have been on your list. Your argument is that the pick should be someone who would be a strong candidate for reelection in 2014. Picking a low profile politician might be too risky though. Warner would be unlikely to do so unless the person were already close to him.

I think a caretaker would be unlikely. I think Warner would have to be forced to consider a caretaker. He would consider it, I believe, only if he felt like there were several likely candidates who would want a fair shot at the seat in a Democratic primary and would somehow have the ability to punish Warner and/or the party if he doesn't go along.

Let me use an analogy. During the late 1970s and early 1980s Doug Wilder had enough power and influence to threaten an independent bid to force the party to back away from potential nominees like Owen Pickett. Is there anyone who could pull a Doug Wilder and say "Mark, pick a caretaker, or else I'll be running as an independent." Or at least work to withhold support for the appointee in 2014.

I don't think there's anyone who could pull it off. First off, I don't think anyone would be willing to threaten an independent bid, let alone have the credibility to back up the threat.

I think Warner running for Governor could be an exciting opportunity for Virginia Democrats. But when speculating about possible Senate successors I think the left wing of the party needs to understand that they'll probably be disappointed with Warner's choice. Don't get distracted with thoughts of Senator McEachin or Senator Perriello.

[ Parent ]
I agree with your (0.00 / 0)
analysis, but I also am very frustrated that Mark Warner and by extension, Dems in Virginia, think it is okay for Mark Warner or any other Dem in Virginia to clear the field for their cronies.  That's not the way it is supposed to or should work.

[ Parent ]
My mentioning of McEachin wasn't because of pie-in-the-sky progressivism (0.00 / 0)
It was because there's a distinct need for a more diverse Senate racially. There are no AA Senators and no likely ones on the horizon.

McEachin just also happens to be a great Senator in general.

Here's another thing about CO: Bennett was more of an outsider in relation to the Capitol Establishment. Remember, the aggrieved primary challenger was a former Speaker. Bennett had been a school superintendent (local government).

If there was a well-liked Dem in the Senate that we could pluck out for this (like McEachin), then I think the field would clear itself. Maybe it's not him. Maybe it's someone like Ralph Northam. Regardless, the challenger to the appointed Senator is likely to come from the Senate (unless Bobby Scott wants to be it).

This is the last I'm saying, because this is getting way out in front of something that may or may not be a remote possibility.

I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat.

~Will Rogers

[ Parent ]
What would happen to McAuliffe? (0.00 / 0)
Wouldn't there be some deal cut between Warner and McAuliffe and thereby the most likely Senate appointee would be McAuliffe, not Perriello or McEachin?  Just a thought.

Everything I've heard is that Warner would clear (0.00 / 0)
the field. No deals necessary.

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[ Parent ]
Terry Might Back Out (0.00 / 0)
People are trying to recruit Warner, and Terry's apparently getting cold feet. Part of it is a concern that he might not be a strong statewide candidate, part of it is also linked to the State Senate going to the GOP last year. Terry knows and understands that faced with a Republican General Assembly (with the LG up in the air) it would be unlikely for him to accomplish much, if at all.

The appointment would be a major issue though. Coming sometime in early 2014, the new appointee would have just a matter of months before facing the voters. If Bob McDonnell isn't Vice President we'll be certain to see him running. That's going to be a tough race.

[ Parent ]
Thanks Larry (0.00 / 0)
You're just about a year behind everyone else.

There have been strong rumblings about another Warner run for Governor for well over the last year. I know I've mentioned them before at Blue Virginia and others have dismissed it. But like it or not, the rumors are there and Warner hasn't acted to dispel them.

My belief that Warner is a possible candidate, and the rumors I've heard that Terry is having second thoughts, were in the background of my prior posts outlining the need for forward thinking Virginia Democrats to focus more on finding a strong LG candidate. Someone like Chopra could be the type of figure to really start to turn Virginia around down the road.

But be absolutely clear Lowell (and others) if you're praising the possibility of a Warner return to Richmond in 2013, and in other posts complaining about the dominance of Warner's influence in the DPVA, you're not really being consistent.

Here's the consistency. (4.00 / 1)
I want to beat Cuccinelli in 2013 at all costs, and I'm confident that Warner can beat him. Very simple.

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[ Parent ]
Another word for it is... (0.00 / 0)

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[ Parent ]
Next Move (0.00 / 0)
What about being strategic in addition to just pragmatic?

When preparing for the 2001 run, Warner started to lean heavily in favor of clearing the field for Senator Couric. This time around I suspect that Warner will want to try to work behind the scenes to clear the field again. Given my own argument in favor of prioritizing the LG, I think a Warner run for the Governor is fine if we focus on ensuring a strong LG candidate for the future. Drafting and rallying behind a strong candidate before Warner can clear the field for his hand picked choice should be open to discussion.  

[ Parent ]
I think "strategic" goes without saying. (0.00 / 0)

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[ Parent ]
Biggest hiccup with this plan... (0.00 / 0)
As a federal office holder, Warner would be prohibited from raising money larger than federal law allows. So his fundraising could be potentially limited.

Would he and Terry cut a deal? Terry is like Warner and more of a CEO type (he's said as much himself). But he is also a talker...and the worlds greatest deliberative body could probably use him as well. But would Terry want it?

That's the least of my concerns, frankly. (0.00 / 0)
Mark Warner having money troubles? That's not one I'm going to lose any sleep over! :)

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[ Parent ]
Depends (0.00 / 0)
I don't think Warner will have a particularly difficult time fundraising under the federal limit. It's not like we can't win statewide under federal limits, we do this for the Senate seats.

but thats a level playing field... (0.00 / 0)
$5000 checks vs. $100000 checks isn't really level.  

[ Parent ]
It's How You Raise (0.00 / 0)
I think it would be highly unusual if Warner was unable to raise the funds necessary to compete. Yeah, he'd be getting smaller checks, but there are a lot of potential donors out there.

One of the biggest problems with the establishment in Virginia right now is the assumption that if there is no limit fundraising needs to focus on the big fat checks and ignore small donors.

[ Parent ]
Good point Dominic (0.00 / 0)
FreeDem, agree with a lot else you are saying, but just blowing off that concern is naive.  Even with big grassroots support, limiting to 5K a person (and no corporate money) when the opposition can go unlimited would be a problem.

[ Parent ]
Actually (4.00 / 1)
I think Dom's wrong.

"These restrictions do not apply if the person is a candidate for state or local office and the fundraising or spending refers only to that state or local candidate or any other candidate for that same state or local office, or both."

[ Parent ]
Interesting... (0.00 / 0)
I had never heard of that loophole before. Good catch!

[ Parent ]
Even if the Fed restrictions were in effect (0.00 / 0)
there would be nothing to prevent a concerned 3rd party from raising unlimited funds.  The combo of Virginia's extremely lax campaign finance laws and Citizens United means that a state PAC or party could raise 10s of millions of dollars and do the anti-Cooch campaigning.

[ Parent ]
Draft Him (3.00 / 1)
Warner has been pretty disappointing as a US Senator...sure he's been better than a rubber-stamp GOPer like Gilmore would have been, but he's been drinking way too much austerity kool-aid for my liking.

But Warner as Governor again? Yeah. I'd welcome him back instantly. We cannot under any circumstances let Cuccinelli win, and what better way to do that than the popular former Governor coming back for his non-consecutive 2nd term?

We should really go "all in" on getting Warner out of the US Senate and back to Richmond. The stakes are too high.

Besides, do we really need a super-ultra-crazy like Kook running for POTUS after a Governorship? I think not.

I'd support that (0.00 / 0)
However, I think he's not getting enough credit for what he's tried to do in the Senate. Some might say he's having it both ways by supporting big initiatives like the ACA and his Deficit Committee, but I don't see why those can't end up hand-in-hand given the right consensus building, and that's what Warner does.

It's even more necessary in state gov. right now, given the pressing need to fix transportation funding by whatever means is possible, and given that there will certainly need to be someone in office that demands the respect of the House of Delegates.

I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat.

~Will Rogers

[ Parent ]
We HAVE (4.00 / 1)
to get te gov. mansion back. Warner is the best option imho. We are currently going down the rabbit hole with all these crazy bills this GA. Perriello would be my choice for his replacement.


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