July 15, 2008
The experts say the 2008 Virginia Senate race has all the tell tale signs of a blow out. Recent polls show Mark Warner (D) with an expanding lead over Jim Gilmore (R).
"It is probably going to be the best for a democratic takeover anywhere in the Senate in the U.S. this year," said Isaac Wood, from the UVa Center for Politics.
Wood says it makes sense. The Commonwealth has voted democratic in recent elections, and the political climate is right for Democrats.
"George Bush being unpopular is hurting Republicans across the board at all levels, even all the way down to city council, if you're running with an "R" next to your name, it's going to hurt you," said Wood.
Also, it does not hurt that Mark Warner left office as a popular governor with a high approval rating.
"Mark Warner is running a campaign all about bipartisanship and all about results, and he is running a lot on his record," said Wood.
So what, if anything, can Jim Gilmore do about it? Wood says if he could swing the focus from past to current policies, he might stand a chance.
"Jim Gilmore definitely in this Senate race is trying to focus on gas prices, he think that that is going to be the panacea to all his other problems in the election," said Wood.
But so far, it has not. Warner has a 60-30 lead over Gilmore in recent polls, and that lead is getting bigger.
Despite criticism that he has not been strong on policy announcements, according to Wood, Warner does not have to because he is running in the lead.
New fundraising totals show Warner has a huge advantage over his counterpart. Warner has raised nearly $10 million compared to $1 million for Gilmore.
The two former Virginia Governors will face off in their first debate this weekend.