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AP Calls Virginia Senate Race for Warner

Mark Warner
Senator Mark Warner has apparently won re-election, according to the Associated Press. (Photo: Craig Carper/VPM)

Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner has won a third term in the U.S. Senate, according to the Associated Press. The former entrepreneur and Virginia governor beat his opponent, Republican Daniel Gade, a veteran, public policy professor, and paralympic champion.

Warner’s early win is a big change from his last race in 2014, when he beat Republican Ed Gilespie by less than 20,000 votes.

Professor Stephen Farnsworth, a political science researcher at the University of Mary Washington, said that expanding suburbs in places like Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Northern Virginia are less inclined to support “conservative Christian” messaging, but that Republicans might be able to succeed in the future by adopting a libertarian-economic message. Republicans have not won a statewide election since 2009.

Unlike many other Republicans, Gade said he opposed eliminating the Affordable Care Act. But Farnsworth said Gade’s moderate stances might not have mattered much: “It’s hard for a candidate like Gade to make himself heard over the presidential race.”

If Democrats retake the majority in the Senate, Warner will likely lead the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee. He co-chaired that committee’s bipartisan investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.