Mark Warner: Convention keynoter and part-time diarist
With Mark Warner expected to reignite his political career with an easy election to the Senate this November in much-watched Virginia, he already was viewed as a prime presidential contender at some future date.
His selection as keynote speaker for the upcoming Democratic National Convention will only intensify such chatter. At Politico.com, for instance, Mike Allen rates him a "rising star" in the party with "a post-partisan message that's similar to" Barack Obama's.
Warner's Senate campaign, not surprisingly, was quick to tout what an e-mail it sent out today termed "an amazing opportunity." The missive also advised that Warner planned to keep a diary of his convention experience, "providing e-mail updates of his activities before and after the big night -- media interviews, visits with the Virginia delegates, and back-stage moments at the big event -- you name it."
The campaign urges folks to subscribe to "ensure you won't miss a beat."
And, of course, Warner hasn't missed a beat in building a database of current -- and future -- contributors.
In winning Virginia's governorship in 2001 as a moderate who focused on appealing to rural voters, Warner laid the groundwork for the Democratic resurgence that has put the state's 13 electoral votes firmly in play in this year's presidential contest. Limited to one four-year term, he left office in 2005 hugely popular and seemingly intent on launching a White House bid. But in the fall of 2006, he pulled the plug on that prospect, saying the timing wasn't right for his family.
Warner decided to run for the Senate after Republican John Warner (no relation) announced that he would retire after 30 years in office. Running against Mark Warner is Jim Gilmore, another former Virginia governor who some may vaguely remember as an ever-so-brief participant last year in the GOP presidential race.
Gilmore's White House quest never had a prayer. Based on polling, fundraising and the Democratic trend in Virginia, his chances of derailing Warner seem little better.
-- Don Frederick
Photo: Associated Press