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Sen. Mark Warner battles against challenger Daniel Gade in Va. Senate race

Published: Nov. 3, 2020 at 9:00 AM EST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner is up for re-election this year. Experts take a look at whether the Republicans have any shot at victory.

Virginia voters are casting their ballots now in this year’s U.S. Senate race. The latest polls show Democratic Senator Mark Warner holding a commanding lead over Republican challenger Daniel Gade. RealClearPolitics says this race is “likely” to remain under Democratic control.

George Mason University’s Mark Rozell says it’s a time that strongly favors Virginia Democrats.

“In this year, the Republican nominee, Gade, is also weighted down by the top of the ticket, Donald Trump, who is performing very poorly," said Mark Rozell, founding dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University.

Rozell, who has followed Virginia politics for years, says Warner is a well-liked former Governor with high name recognition and a 10-to-1 fundraising advantage.

But he says Gade – a retired Lieutenant Colonel who lost his entire right leg in combat – has a compelling story with a promising political future.

“There is a saying in American politics that for upstart candidates like Mr. Gade, maybe you run once or twice to get known and establish a record and then the next time you win. So not all is lost," said Rozell.

The Republicans haven’t won a statewide race in Virginia since 2009. But Rozell says he thinks the GOP can one day make a comeback.

“I think there is a post-Trump era, an opportunity for the Republicans to do a kind of reset and go back to the roots of the Republican Party that made it very strong in Virginia and actually at one time was the dominant party in Virginia politics," said Rozell.

Most political experts say this seat is not expected to flip, but the Gade campaign says their internal polling shows the race tightening.

According to the latest Roanoke College poll taken for likely Virginia voters, Warner has a 16-point lead.

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