A former Senate Armed Services Committee chairman is doing the unthinkable in today’s partisan environment: crossing the aisle to support a Democratic incumbent’s reelection bid.
In a 30-second ad made public this week, former SASC Chairman John Warner, R-Va., endorses Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., for his “guts to cross the aisle.”
“For 30 years, it was my privilege to represent you in the United States Senate,” the Republican Warner says in the ad, first reported by Politico. “In Congress, to get things done, you gotta have the guts to cross the aisle and reach bipartisan agreement. That’s what I did; that’s what Mark Warner does today.
“While we come from different parties, we both believe in putting Virginia first,” the longtime senator says of the sitting senator. “I know Mark Warner. He’s decisive, experienced and has courage. He earned my vote. Your vote is equally important.”
Mark Warner has a commanding lead over GOP challenger Ed Gillespie, suggesting his campaign believes the elder Warner’s endorsement could be a knock-out blow.
Real Clear Politics, an independent organization that monitors political races, averaged the results of five polls conducted in the commonwealth since mid-September. The RCP tabulation showed Warner leading Gillespie 49.6 percent to 38.6 percent.
The incumbent Warner is an ally of the military and defense industry, especially the US shipbuilding sector, which has a large presence in Virginia.
The US defense sector has contributed $215,400 to Warner’s campaign this cycle, $122,300 from individuals and $93,100 from political action committees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.