Will he or won't he? Mark Warner can stop sweating it, as he will announce his decision about his future political career Thursday morning in an e-mail to supporters.
And, what a tough decision Mark Warner has! On the one hand he can run in 2008 to replace John Warner in the US Senate. On the other hand he can run in 2009 for another term as governor. Either option is viable because Warner left the governor’s mansion with some of the highest approval ratings in Virginia history.
And, that’s a rating that appears to have stuck with him. A recent poll by Rasmussen Research shows Warner’s favorability rating at 68%. The same poll has Warner beating the two most likely Republican senate challengers by 20 and 27 points.
Governor Tim Kaine, the Democrat who succeeded Warner, gave no hint on his friend’s decision other than to say, “Virginia will be lucky either way.”
WSLS Political Analyst Dr.Bob Denton says it is likely Warner will pick the Senate and calls him the favorite.
“He's one of the most popular politicians in the commonwealth of Virginia. He has some campaign experience now,” Denton said.
But not so fast. Do you remember the last guy we thought had a lock an election: Senator George Allen. At one point he was 30 points ahead in his 2006 re-election bid. He went on to lose to Democrat Jim Webb.
Allen was in Moneta Wednesday campaigning for a local Republican running for the House of Delegates. He said he won’t run for the Senate in ’08, but said, “I think Mark's going to run for the US Senate.”
Allen was brought down in part thanks to a campaign misstep that ended up on YouTube. The Internet has changed the game for politicians, meaning Warner shouldn't take anything for granted.
“He does have to campaign and campaign hard,” Dr. Denton said. “He has to earn the position. But, at the same time I would say it's as much his to lose and his to win.”