United States Senate election in Virginia, 2014

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United States Senate election in Virginia, 2014
Virginia
2008 ←
November 4, 2014 → 2020

  Mark Warner, official 111th Congress photo portrait.jpg Ed Gillespie by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Nominee Mark Warner Ed Gillespie
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 1,073,667 1,055,940
Percentage 49.15% 48.34%

Virginia Senate Election Results by County, 2014.svg

County results

U.S. Senator before election

Mark Warner
Democratic

Elected U.S. Senator

Mark Warner
Democratic

The 2014 United States Senate election in Virginia was held on November 4, 2014, to elect a member of the United States Senate to represent the Commonwealth of Virginia, concurrently with other elections to the United States Senate, elections to the United States House of Representatives, and various state and local elections.

Incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Warner ran for re-election to a second term. He was unopposed for the Democratic nomination. The Republicans nominated lobbyist and former Chairman of the Republican National Committee Ed Gillespie. Also running was Libertarian nominee Robert Sarvis, an attorney and businessman.

Although Warner had been consistently leading Gillespie by double-digit margins in polls before October, Gillespie nearly upset Warner on Election Day, losing by a margin of just 0.8% and 17,723 votes. Gillespie conceded the race on November 7, 2014.[1]

Background[edit]

Businessman Mark Warner first ran for the U.S. Senate in 1996, losing to incumbent Republican John Warner (no relation), but by a closer than expected margin, 53% to 47%. He then ran for Governor of Virginia in 2001, winning with 52% of the vote. After John Warner declined to run for a sixth term in 2008, Mark Warner ran to succeed him. Unopposed in the Democratic primary, he defeated the Republican nominee, fellow former Governor Jim Gilmore, in a landslide, 65% to 34%.

Warner was widely expected to run for the Democratic nomination in the 2008 presidential election, but declined to do so, and also declined to be considered as a vice-presidential candidate. He considered running for Governor again in 2013 but decided against it,[2] and is running for re-election to a second term. Opinion polls consistently rank Warner as the most popular elected official in Virginia,[3] with an approval rating consistently in the mid-60s.[4][5] This, combined with his large campaign war chest, has meant that he has been dubbed "unbeatable".[6]

Democratic primary[edit]

Warner was unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

Candidates[edit]

Declared[edit]

Endorsements[edit]

Republican convention[edit]

The Republican Party of Virginia's governing body voted in May 2013 to select its 2014 U.S. Senate nominee at a convention.[10] The convention was held on June 7, 2014 in Roanoke, Virginia.[11]

Candidates[edit]

Results[edit]

Ed Gillespie and Shak Hill were the main players at the convention. A 50% majority was required to receive the nomination; if no candidate achieved such a majority, voting would move to a second or third round. Results of the first ballot of voting were announced as they were finalized by congressional district, and after it became clear that Gillespie was going to win (he had about 60% of the vote with about 90% counted), Hill conceded the race and motioned to nominate Gillespie by acclamation, asking his supporters to support Gillespie.[12] Gillespie was then nominated by acclamation.[12]

Declared[edit]

Withdrew[edit]

Declined[edit]

Endorsements[edit]

Libertarian convention[edit]

The Libertarian Party of Virginia held its convention on February 8, 2014. The delegates at the convention nominated Robert Sarvis as the Party's candidate for the U.S. Senate.[47] Sarvis received notification from the Virginia State Board of Elections that he had achieved statewide ballot access on June 26, 2014.[48]

Candidates[edit]

Declared[edit]

Endorsements[edit]

Write-in[edit]

Candidates[edit]

Declared[edit]

General election[edit]

Fundraising[edit]

Top contributors[edit]

According to OpenSecrets.org, Democrat Mark Warner's top five contributors are JPMorgan Chase, Dominion Resources, Altria Group, Norfolk Southern, and The Blackstone Group. Republican Ed Gillespie's top five contributors are BlueCross/BlueShield, BGR Group, The Blackstone Group, Jennmar Corporation, and the Altria Group.[56] Thus, Warner and Gillespie share the Altria Group and the Blackstone Group as top five contributors. Libertarian Robert Sarvis is primarily funded through self-financing and individual contributions.[57]

Third quarter reports[edit]

After third quarter reports, the last before the election, Warner raised an additional $2 million.[58] Gillespie pulled various television ads, stating "he does not have the financial resources" to match Warner.[59]

Outside spending[edit]

In the debates, Warner said, "I think we ought to get rid of all Super PACs and all outside money."[60] However, throughout the campaign, Super PACs have supported Warner while no comparable Super PAC has backed Gillespie.[61] According to the Virginia Public Access Project, as of October 23, outside groups have spent $2,571,319 to influence the election.[62]

Campaign finance reports[edit]

Campaign Finance Reports through October 15
Candidate Raised Spent Cash on Hand
Mark Warner $16,363,842 $12,789,038 $4,722,372
Ed Gillespie $6,228,871 $5,915,236 $916,212
Robert Sarvis $72,912 $60,143 $13,243
Source: OpenSecrets[63]

Debates and forums[edit]

Democrat Mark Warner and Republican Ed Gillespie agreed to three debates and six forums.[64] Gillespie also agreed to three additional debates, but Warner declined.[65] Libertarian Robert Sarvis, who submitted a petition with over 1,000 signatures to debate organizers, challenged Warner and Gillespie to include him in the debates.[66][67] In August, Warner accepted the challenge and requested that Sarvis be invited to the remaining debates; Gillespie did not respond.[68][69] In the end, Sarvis was not invited to any of the debates and was only invited to one joint appearance.[70]

Confirmed debates[edit]

Virginia Bar Association

The Virginia Bar Association (VBA) debate occurred at 11 a.m. on July 26 at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. PBS NewsHour co-anchor Judy Woodruff moderated the debate, which was free and open to public.[71] The VBA decided to invite only Warner and Gillespie. VBA president John L. Walker III said: "They are the only candidates who qualify under our criteria for invitations."[72] In response to not being invited, Sarvis said, "Virginia voters lost".[73][74] In addition, some political observers, like the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity's project watchdog.org, noted that issues like surveillance and cronyism were missing from the debate.[75] Fewer than 800 people watched the debate on PBS' livestream, which was characterised by Politico as civil, with both candidates "at their best".[76] The debate was later replayed multiple times on C-SPAN.[77]

Fairfax Chamber of Commerce

The Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce hosted a debate on October 7. The debate was moderated by Chuck Todd, the host of "Meet the Press."[69] The debate was broadcast live on WRC-TV in Northern Virginia, and was offered to all NBC affiliates in Virginia.[64] In their second debate, Warner and Gillespie aired their differences on marriage equality, the Affordable Care Act, and America’s foreign policy challenges. Both candidates appeared uncomfortable at times. Gillespie lashed out against Warner for voting with President Barack Obama "97 percent of the time"; Warner fired back, calling it a "bogus charge". Sarvis was not invited.[78]

The People's Debate

The League of Women Voters of Virginia and American Association of Retired Persons of Virginia hosted "The People's Debate" on October 13 in Richmond, Virginia.[69] The debate was offered by WTVR-TV (CBS) and WCVE-TV (Virginia Public Television) to all of their affiliates.[64] In the third and final debate, the candidates discussed the economy, education, Social Security, healthcare, and campaign finance reform. The debate was heated at times, particularly when Warner spoke against Gillespie's past lobbying experience; Gillespie focused on Warner's recent admission that he called State Senator Phillip Puckett and spoke about jobs for Puckett's daughter. Sarvis was not invited to the debate.[79] Sarvis described the debate as the "no people’s debate" because he was "the only candidate not bought and paid for by corporate interests."[80][81]

Confirmed forums[edit]

Arlington Civic Federation

The Arlington County Civic Federation hosted a forum at 7:30pm on September 2 at Virginia Hospital Center's Hazel Auditorium in Arlington, Virginia. The event was recorded and televised by Arlington Independent Media.[82] More than one hundred people attended the Arlington forum. Sarvis participated in the event; Warner and Gillespie declined.[83]

Northern Virginia Technology Council

The Northern Virginia Technology Council and Microsoft co-hosted a forum, at the Microsoft Offices in Reston, Virginia, from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on September 8.[64] The forum delved into details about cybersecurity policy, immigration visas for skilled workers and other issues important to the tech community.[84] Warner and Gillespie participated; Sarvis was not invited.[85]

The Battleground

The Battleground Forum with Northern Virginia Chambers of Commerce occurred between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on September 19 at the Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon, Virginia.[64] The debate-style forum was hosted by chambers of commerce from Loudoun, Prince William, Reston and Fredericksburg.[86] Questions included: the Affordable Care Act, balancing the budget, the Marketplace Fairness Act, Virginia’s economy and student loan debt. Warner's and Gillespie's answers centered around two themes: Warner speaking about his bipartisanship record and Gillespie pairing Warner with President Barack Obama. Sarvis was not invited.[87]

Roanoke Chamber of Commerce

The Roanoke Chamber of Commerce joint appearance occurred between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., at the City Market Building in Roanoke, Virginia, on October 6.[88] The forum was moderated by Dr. Robert "Bob" Denton, who leads the communication department at Virginia Tech. Warner, Gillespie, and Sarvis were invited.[89] Warner highlighted his record of bipartisanship; Gillespie questioned whether Warner is really the centrist he claims to be; and Sarvis argued the two-party system is broken and neither of his opponents offers any meaningful change. The forum covered a variety of issues, including transportation funding, immigration reform and foreign policy, and a question about the Affordable Care Act highlighted the candidates' differences.[90][91][92]

Sorensen Institute

The Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, Danville Register & Bee, and WSET-TV joint appearance occurred October 14 at 7 p.m. in Danville, Virginia.[64][93] Warner and Gillespie participated. Sarvis was not invited.[94]

Christopher Newport University

The Christopher Newport University joint appearance took place on October 17 in Gaines Theater in Hampton Roads, Virginia. Warner and Gillespie answered questions from Dr. Quentin Kidd, a government professor and director of Christopher Newport University's Wason Center. The event was free and open to the public.[64][95] Warner and Gillespie attended. Sarvis was not invited.[96]

Central Business District Association

The Central Business District Association joint appearance was at The Westin Virginia Beach Town Center, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on October 23.[64] Warner and Gillespie participated.[97] Sarvis was not invited.[70]

Proposed debates[edit]

Polling[edit]

Poll source Date(s)
administered
Sample
size
Margin of
error
Mark
Warner (D)
Ed
Gillespie (R)
Robert
Sarvis (L)
Other Undecided
Public Policy Polling October 29–30, 2014 937 ± 3.2% 49% 40% 5% 6%
Christopher Newport University October 23–29, 2014 815 ± 3.4% 51% 44% 2% 3%
Vox Populi Polling October 27–28, 2014 734 ± 3.6% 44% 40% 5% 2% 9%
Roanoke College October 20–25, 2014 738 ± 3.6% 47% 35% 4% 15%
CBS News/NYT/YouGov October 16–23, 2014 1,605 ± 4% 49% 39% 1% 0% 11%
University of Mary Washington October 1–6, 2014 444 LV ± 5.3% 47% 37% 6% 10%
819 RV ± 3.9% 50% 30% 6% 14%
Christopher Newport University September 29–October 5, 2014 690 ± 3.7% 51% 39% 3% 7%
CBS News/New York Times September 20–October 1, 2014 1,656 ± 3% 51% 39% 1% 0% 9%
Public Policy Polling September 22–23, 2014 625 ± 3.9% 48% 35% 4% 12%
49% 37% 14%
Quinnipiac University September 17–22, 2014 1,010 ± 3.1% 48% 39% 6% 7%
50% 41% 9%
Roanoke College September 13–19, 2014 630 ± 3.9% 49% 29% 6% 16%
Christopher Newport University September 2–7, 2014 713 ± 3.7% 53% 31% 5% 11%
CBS News/New York Times August 18–September 2, 2014 1,635 ± 3% 51% 39% 1% 9%
Hampton University July 27–30, 2014 804 ± 2.9% 53% 28% 5% 14%
55% 32% 13%
CBS News/New York Times July 5–24, 2014 2,081 ± 3.2% 53% 42% 2% 3%
Roanoke College July 14–19, 2014 556 ± 4.2% 47% 22% 5% 2% 25%
Rasmussen Reports June 11–12, 2014 750 ± 4% 53% 36% 3% 9%
Public Policy Polling April 1–2, 2014 689 ± ? 49% 35% 16%
Quinnipiac University March 19–24, 2014 1,288 ± 2.7% 46% 31% 6% 17%
Roanoke College February 22–28, 2014 707 ± 3.9% 56% 29% 1% 13%
Harper Polling February 4–5, 2014 936 ± 3.2% 44% 38% 18%
Christopher Newport University January 15–22, 2014 1,023 ± 3.1% 50% 30% 2% 18%
Rasmussen Reports January 20–21, 2014 1,000 ± 3% 51% 37% 2% 9%
Roanoke College January 13–17, 2014 553 ± 4.2% 50% 21% 3% 26%
Washington Free Beacon November 19–20, 2013 600 ± 4% 51% 33% 16%

Results[edit]

United States Senate election in Virginia, 2014[106]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Mark Warner (inc.) 1,073,667 49.15% -15.88%
Republican Ed Gillespie 1,055,940 48.34% +14.62%
Libertarian Robert Sarvis 53,102 2.43% +1.87%
Other Write-ins 1,764 0.08% -0.01%
Plurality 17,727 0.81% -30.49%
Turnout 2,184,473
Democratic hold Swing

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  100. ^ "Sarvis fights for some attention to his Senate campaign". The Roanoke Times. August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
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  102. ^ "Virginia U.S. Senate candidates should stop playing debate games and include Sarvis". Roanoke Free Press. August 26, 2014. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  103. ^ "Robert Sarvis accepts Mary Washington Senate debate invite". Augusta Free Press. August 26, 2014. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  104. ^ "Sen. Warner should debate at UVa". Daily Press. August 20, 2014. Retrieved September 2, 2014. 
  105. ^ "MORRIS: A missing piece, Virginia Senate debates for this coming election should include candidate Robert Sarvis". Cavalier Daily. September 26, 2014. Retrieved September 27, 2014. 
  106. ^ "November 4, 2014-General-Election Results Official Results". Virginia Department of Elections. Retrieved November 27, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Official campaign websites