Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Mark Warner will not run for Virginia Governor in 2013

Mark Warner made it official today: he will not be running for Virginia Governor in 2013. Warner's calculations aren't hard to understand: if the Democratic Party had lost control of the U.S. Senate and/or the Presidency, Warner would likely have chosen to run for governor rather than sit in the back of the Senate chamber with nothing to do but try to block the extreme Republican agenda. With Obama in the White House, Democratic control of the Senate, and a chance to reform the filibuster, Warner's chances of getting something done in the Senate are greatly improved.

Some might say that Cuccinelli or Bolling are the winners as a result of this decision. It should be noted that only one of these two can benefit from Warner's decision--one or the other are going to be disappointed, because they can't both win the GOP nod for Governor: one or the other will be sidelined. And the one who wins the GOP nod will find Mark Warner standing right beside the Democratic nominee, along with Tim Kaine and Barack Obama. 2013 is going to find the DPVA more united and the RPV divided by a civil war that pits the establishment (Bolling) versus the Tea Party (Cuccinelli). Cuccinelli will probably win the GOP nomination, but may lose the general election once he answers questions about his position on abortion and secession.

The biggest loser in this situation is Bob McDonnell. What does McDonnell do next? He can't run for re-election; Virginia Governors are limited to one term at a time. McDonnell won't be eligible to run for Governer again until 2017. The U.S. Senate in 2014? That's Mark Warner's seat and Warner will likely run for re-election. Will "Transvaginal Bob" McDonnell consent to be crushed by Mark Warner the way Jim Gilmore was? McDonnell was badly damaged by this year's General Assembly session, and this year will probably be just as bad. Bob McDonnell may very well be finished in Virginia politics.

The big winner is Terry McAuliffe, who is likely to cruise to the Democratic nomination. DPVA seems to be moving in the direction of greater unity. We can only hope.

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