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“Ronald Reagan could come to life and run against Mark Warner in Virginia, and he ain’t going to beat him,” said Dave “Mudcat” Saunders, a Democratic strategist who worked on Mr. Warner’s campaign for governor in 2001 and now works on the presidential campaign of former Sen. John Edwards, North Carolina Democrat.

Mr. Warner also has been mentioned as a vice-presidential candidate. His presence on the ticket could improve Democrats’ chances of winning Virginia’s 13 electoral votes that President Bush captured in the past two elections.

Mr. Warner briefly explored a White House bid of his own but surprised state and national Democrats when he announced that he would not run for president next year so he could spend more time with his wife and three daughters.