United States Senate election in Virginia, 1996
|U.S. Senate election results map. Red denotes counties/districts won by John Warner. Blue denotes those won by Mark Warner.|
|Elections in Virginia|
The 1996 United States Senate election in Virginia was held on November 5, 1996. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator John Warner won re-election to a fourth term.
- Leslie Byrne, former U.S. Representative
- Mark Warner, businessman
- Nancy Spannaus, 1990 U.S. Senate independent candidate
|Democratic convention vote|
|Democratic||Nancy B. Spannaus||14||1.49%|
- John Warner, incumbent U.S. Senator
- James C. Miller III, former Director of the Office of Management and Budget
John Warner, a moderate Republican who held this Senate seat from 1979, remained a popular and powerful political figure. A former United States Secretary of the Navy, he was at this time Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee.
He easily won renomination, despite opposition by a number of conservative Republicans, who distrusted him because of his moderate positions (Warner is pro-choice, pro-gun control and refused to support 1994 Senate nominee Oliver North due to his role in the Iran-Contra Affair).
|Republican primary results|
|Republican||John Warner (inc.)||323,520||65.55%|
|Republican||James C. Miller III||170,015||34.45%|
The two Warners (no relation) competed in one of the closest Senate elections in Virginia history. The incumbent, who was a moderate Republican, was very popular and didn't even have a major opponent in his last re-election bid in 1990. Although Mark Warner was relatively unknown, he became one of John Warner's strongest challengers. The Democrat self-financed his campaign and ended up outspending the Republican. In October, the Democrat outspent the incumbent 5-1.
The incumbent had to compete in a primary against someone who was more conservative because he decided to endorse an independent in the 1994 U.S. Senate election, opting not to endorse the controversial Republican nominee, Oliver North. Despite this, North did endorse John Warner in the 1996 election. In the general election, the incumbent called the Democrat a "robber baron," "Carpetbagger," and a "Connecticut Yankee" who raised money from outside the state. Mark Warner tried to compete in the Southern part of the state, which is traditionally Republican territory. He earned the endorsement from the Reform Party of Virginia.
|General election results|
|Republican||John Warner (inc.)||1,235,744||52.48%||-28.43%|
Mark Warner lost the parts of the state that are outside the three largest metropolitan areas, 51%-49%, a very impressive result for a Democrat in this heavily Republican territory. However, John Warner’s strength among moderates enabled him to carry Northern Virginia 55%-45%, which got him over the top.
In 2002, John Warner was reelected with no Democratic challenger, defeating independent candidate Spannaus by a wide margin. He declined to run for re-election in 2008.
In 2001, Mark Warner was elected Governor, serving from 2002 to 2006. He left office with a high approval rating and many believed he was a potential candidate for the 2008 presidential election. After declining to run, he was mentioned as a potential vice presidential nominee. In 2008, Mark Warner was elected Senator, succeeding John Warner upon his retirement.
- Dr. Michael McDonald (March 25, 2013). "Turnout 1980-2012". George Mason University. Retrieved April 3, 2013.
|Virginia U.S. Senate elections