Saturday, June 7, 2014

Ed Gillespie wins Republican nomination for U.S. Senate on the first ballot

Ed Gillespie accepts the Republican Party's nomination.

Ed Gillespie accepts the Republican Party’s nomination.

Delegates began filling up the Civic Center Convention Hall early Saturday morning but many seats were  empty. There were only 2886 ballot voters.

The convention was still organizing at 10:00 a.m. with few delegates seated.

Candidate Shak Hill signs were prevalent and there was some trepidation that Ed Gillespie may not win on the first round as expected. A 50 percent weighted margin of votes is required to secure the nomination.

An upset looked possible with Shak Hill the Centreville resident and former a flight commander in the Presidential Wing, Andrews AFB, MD and decorated combat pilot. It was almost 12:30 p.m. before the candidates gave their speeches.

Dave "Mudcat" Saunders stands with protesting Democrats at the entrance to the Roanoke Civic Center

Dave “Mudcat” Saunders stands with protesting Democrats at the entrance to the Roanoke Civic Center

Earlier a contingent of 50 Democrat protesters  stood at the entrance sign of the Roanoke Civic Center along with Dave “Mudcat” Saunders, a consultant with a southern drawl. They were there to show their support for incumbent Mark Warner.

Mudcat’s message was based on economic fairness and the extinction of the middle class. He believes Mark Warner has proven his commitment to that cause. The one percent has 30% of the wealth he said.

Thomas Ryder, an educator, echoed the same. Mary Croft a gun violence opponent wants to see universal background checks resurrected. Warner voted for it and Ed Gillespie is against it. She’d like to see gun control expanded even further with limits to high caliber weapons and large magazine clips.  Warner earlier in a stop in Roanoke hoped it can be revisited since failing in the Senate after the Sandy Hook shooting.

At the convention clips of former President Ronald Reagan were shown.

Ken Cuccinelli

Ken Cuccinelli

A surprise speaker was former Attorney General and candidate for governor in 2013, Ken Cuccinelli. He railed against Obamacare calling for full repeal.  He is suing the NSA saying that they were “stealing your data.”

Mark Warner doesn’t protect the constitution Cuccinelli said.

Ed Gillespie was endorsed by Senator Mark Obenshain who lost the attorney general race by a hair to Mark Herring last year. Obenshain said “we need somebody who can win.”

The first and last ballot vote began at 1:30 p.m. As the results from the congressional districts were announced Ed Gillespie surged ahead. He was headed for a 50% margin of victory.

The two candidates Chuck Moss and Tony DeTora in some districts received no votes. Shak Hill did much better but as the tide of numbers mounted for Gillespie, Hill conceded a little after 3:00 p.m.

Republican Conv02 Gillespie 029Gillespie was glad to see all the candidates be “all together in the end.”

Political Analyst Dr. Bob Denton thinks Gillespie will now be able to at least catch up to Mark Warner’s funding war chest of $12 million. For Gillespie to pull out a victory in November much depends on President Obama’s approval ratings. Warner has voted with Obama 97% of the time he said.

Dr. Denton also feels Warner will not carry the western part of Virginia as he did as governor. Fewer votes come from the rural coal mining areas but in can push a candidate to the finish line.

If Republicans are desperate enough and passionate enough they will turn out in hopes of regaining some ground on the once red but now bluish Commonwealth of Virginia. It could also be a wave election said Dr. Denton – though the Republican Party does not have the Virginia Senate race on its radar.

In off-year elections it is all about getting the base out to the polls. The senate race for now leans Democratic with Warner having a 5-10 point lead but that could change said Dr. Denton.

The Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis could come into play if the race tightens.

Dwight Jones, DPVA Chair said in a statement following Ed Gillespie’s nomination: “Ed Gillespie calls himself a ‘partisan warrior,’ and has spent his life whipping up gridlock or lobbying for special interests willing to pay the right price. Virginians want a problem solver not a partisan warrior.”

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Election 2014, Elections, National, Politics

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