In a race that had been too close to call for three days, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ed Gillespie conceded Friday afternoon to Senator Mark Warner who will serve his second six-year term in Washington.
Gillespie came out of nowhere to surprise political pundits nationwide in a Virginia race that most thought would be a cake walk for Warner. However, Gillespie hit the ground running and never let up as he crisscrossed Virginia reaching out to voters who were dissatisfied with Warner’s lack of representation, his lie about voting only for a health care plan that allowed those covered by insurance to keep their plans, and rubber-stamping President Barack Obama’s policies. Throughout it all, Gillespie kept his positive outlook and sense of humor even as Warner began to melt down when he realized this opponent pushed back, and when Puckettgate oozed into the media.
In the process, Gillespie did something others had been unable to do in the past: he stripped the Teflon veneer off Warner. Ed made a name for himself across the country. Political gurus now have his name on their radars, and he is being mentioned for the 2017 Virginia gubernatorial race. After this week’s performance that had everyone on the edge of their seats watching the results come in, Gillespie is in an excellent position to take on Democratic opponents and even any Republicans who may have their eye on the top spot in Richmond.
Part of me wanted to see the Gillespie campaign go after the recount but my rational side knew it was a long shot. It was a good campaign, Gillespie proved to be an excellent candidate, and now we turn our eyes to the future. As one who has been involved in Republican politics for more than 30 years including stints as Virginia Republican Party of Virginia chairman and adviser to President George W. Bush, Ed Gillespie knows what he’s doing which should quell the nervous nellies on the right about lack of previous political office.
What’s next for this new rising GOP star? Stay tuned….