November 11, 2005
After running the Commonwealth for four years, Governor Mark Warner is looking towards the future. He has already vowed not to run for Senate against incumbent George Allen next year. Instead, he is leaving a run for President in 2008 on the table.
Warner is well known around Virginia and the bordering states, however he does not carry name recognition throughout the entire country. He took one major step towards changing that on Tuesday.
Election Day was a huge win for Tim Kaine, but possibly even bigger win for Mark Warner.
"With Virginia having the spotlight as one of two Gubernatorial elections really did a lot to raise his national profile and put him in a strong position to make a credible run for President," said Joshua Scott from the Center for Politics.
Warner's Presidential aspirations have been well documented. During a rally last Sunday, Warner acknowledged he is unsure of his future.
"I've not made any decision about my political future. If I want to have any political future, the most important thing I can do is try to finish this job strong," said Governor Mark Warner.
However Warner has begun assembling a group of advisors and is expected to announce his Political Action Committee next week. That will enable him to begin raising money for a Presidential campaign. He does face one challenge.
"Mark Warner is really going to have to find ways to make sure he can stay relevant on the national scene--not just here in Virginia, but nationally," said Scott.
Once his term expires in January, Warner will be out of the political limelight for three years. He also faces stiff competition for the nomination. Scott believes Hillary Clinton is the current frontrunner but he says there may be votes to win with other Democrats.
"At some point, Democrats who are not in favor of nominating Hillary Clinton for the Presidential run, are going to have to coalesce around an anti-Hillary candidate," Scott said.
That candidate could be Mark Warner. One thing is for sure, Warner has proven he can turn a red state, royal blue.
This is still quite early in the process. Warner says he has no immediate timetable for announcing his candidacy.