- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 7, 2014

Ed Gillespie, a former advisor to Mitt Romney and chairman of the Republican National Committee, has been selected by the GOP to be their candidate for the Senate race in Virginia.

Mr. Gillespie will face off against Senator Mark Warner, an incumbent Democrat and former governor who is serving his first term in Congress.

“He’s got the resources and I think he’s got some name recognition,” said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond.

Mr. Gillespie is an “establishment choice” with a “broad base” of support, the kind of candidate the GOP seems to have been favoring in the most recent primaries, Mr. Tobias said.

At the Virginia Republican Convention Friday, former VP candidate Paul Ryan praised Mr. Gillespie, saying Congress needed principled and effective conservatives.

Mr. Ryan also noted that Mr. Gillespie use to work in the Senate parking lot to help pay for college when he was younger.

“It would be kind of neat to see him go from the Senate parking lot to the Senate floor, wouldn’t it,” Mr. Ryan said.

Mr. Gillespie beat out several other challengers to the GOP primary, and expressed optimism of his chances in November.

“We can win this race,’” he said in a video posted to social media. “We’re going to have a big unifying convention tomorrow and bring our party together to defeat Mark Warner in November.”

Mr. Tobias said he doubts the candidate will have any trouble rallying the party around him, but that he faces some uncertainty from the public about his record.

Mr. Gillespie has worked as a lobbyist, was an advisor on the presidential campaigns of George W. Bush and Mitt Romney, and has served as the chairman of the Republican National Committee.

“The big question a lot of people have is what he’s done, not having held elected office, and his lobbying work,” Mr. Tobias said. “People will continue to ask those questions. I think he probably can answer them.”

The election in Virginia will focus on expansion of healthcare under the Affordable Care Act more commonly known as Obamacare, Mr. Tobias said. Other issues of interest will likely be jobs, the deficit and other economic problems, and support for the military, which has a large presence in the state.

Although a strong Republican candidate, Mr. Gillespie will face a challenge going against current senator Mark Warner, he said.

“He’s a respectable candidate, but I think Warner was a popular governor whom people still like,” Mr. Tobias said. “He has very high approval rating. As a senator, I have to say, he has done as much as almost anybody in the Senate to try to prevent gridlock.”

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