CANDIDATE NUMBER SIX: MARK WARNER
(Virginia Governor Mark Warner--Our 44th President?)
FULL NAME: Mark Robert Warner
CURRENT OFFICE: Governor of Virginia
BIRTHPLACE: Indianapolis, Indiana
EDUCATION: George Washington University, Bachelor's in law; Harvard University, Master's in law
PREV. EXPERIENCE: U.S. Senate candidate, 1996; Senate staffer in the office of U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT), 1981.
CURRENT ANALYSIS: Mark Warner was elected Virginia's 69th governor in 2001, defeating Attorney General Mark Earley. Warner campaigned as a moderate, fiscally conservative democrat, and garnered a record number of "good ole' boy" votes, by not only sponsoring a NASCAR race car in the Martinsville, Virginia race, but having his own bluegrass band travel with him, singing a song titled "Warner." But before his election as governor, Warner has run for U.S. Senate in 1996 against incumbent Senator John W. Warner (no relation), losing by a surprisingly close margin, and actually won in Southwest Virginia. Warner has been incredibly successful in the business world. He used his knowledge of federal telecommunication laws to begin in the 1980's investing in fledgling high-tech companies. Warner later became managing director of Columbia Capital Corporation, and in that capacity, he co-founded Capital Cellular Corporation, as well as cell phone giant Nextel in 1987. As Governor, Warner has astronomical approval ratings (65% at last check). His term as governor has been dominated by battling Virginia's massive debt, which he inherited from the last governor, Jim Gilmore. He refused in 2002 to raise the sales tax, but in 2004 he worked with moderate republicans to raise the cigarette tax--the largest tax increase in Virginia since the 1980's. Under Warner's guidance, state revenue increased from 19 billion in FY2002 to 30 billion in FY2005. He has also recently been involved in a major push to increase the rate of high school graduation in Virginia. He is considered low-key and not one to stir partisan sentiments unless he has to.
P2008 ANALYSIS: Mark Warner is a moderate on both social and fiscal issues, but has little foreign policy experience. Even though he is to the right of many democrats, and has little national security experience, he begins the 2008 race as one of the three or four top tier candidates for the nomination, and here's why: He has extensive business experience, a Southern base (and a homestate with 13 electoral votes), huge fundraising connections with high-tech companies in the Silicon Valley, and he has a record of working with Virginia's black community to accomplish their goals. Warner has made trips to Iowa, Arizona, South Carolina, and other important primary states. He has also hired Melissa Dixon, one of Al Gore's 2000 campaign officials. But the first hudle Warner needs to jump is proving his election formula of 2001 is lasting. If Lt. Governor Tim Kaine (D), who was swept into office in 2001 over former Ambassador Jay Katzen, is elected Governor in the november 2005 election, Warner's "political capital" will increase substantially.
Go to http://www.draftmarkwarner.com/ to see what his supporters are doing at this early stage for him.
(Turd Blossom goes to jail.)
Gotcha! Not really, just today's funny picture. But can't we wish out loud?
Look for a post tomorrow about Tim Kaine's big fundraiser tonight with Senator Barack Obama in Arlington.