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Ed Gillespie Concedes Virginia Senate Race, Congratulates Mark Warner

Virginia Republican Ed Gillespie has conceded the US Senate race to Democratic incumbent Mark Warner, despite being eligible for a recount.

CNN (“Ed Gillespie concedes Virginia Senate race“):

Republican Ed Gillespie conceded the Virginia Senate race Friday to incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Warner.

Gillespie said at a Friday afternoon news conference that he had called Warner “congratulating him on his re-election” in a race that turned out to be one of the midterm election’s biggest surprises.

Polls had shown Warner, a popular former governor who’d been endorsed by his Republican predecessor, ex-Sen. John Warner, with a hefty lead. But Gillespie led Warner for much of the night as returns trickled in Tuesday — and ultimately ended up trailing by less than one percentage point.

He said he would challenge the result “if I believed that there were any conceivable way” to win in a recount. He said he’d forwarded complaints about voter irregularities on to Virginia election officials, but that those votes wouldn’t change the race’s outcome.

“In my head and in my heart, I know that a change in outcome is not possible,” he said. “The numbers just aren’t there, and it’s time to accept the decision of my fellow Virginians.”

This was the classy and correct thing to do. With the outcome inevitable, there’s no reason to drag on the anguish of the contest or force the Commonwealth’s taxpayer to fund a boondoggle. Gillespie’s surprise showing already made him a favorite for the Republican nomination for governor in 2017; his graciousness here certainly won’t hurt his chances.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.


  1. The right move for Gillespie. And, as you say, a good setup for 2017 should he choose to run.

    In fact, the Virginia GOP should be quite pleased with his strong showing this year because, until now, they had a very weak bench for 2017. Gillespie doing this well in his first run statewide, his first run anywhere really, and the network he developed during the campaign, bode well for his ability to mount a good campaign in three years.

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  2. JWH says:

    It’s gracious, true. That said, the margin is tight enough that I would not have blamed him for seeking a recount.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. C. Clavin says:

    Didn’t Gillespie realize that the SCOTUS would have given him the office if he had only asked?
    I mean…the consideration would have been limited to the present circumstances…but they do have a track record….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 12

  4. wr says:

    In Republican circles it’s now an astonishingly, praiseworthy act simply to acknowledge reality?

    Do you guys have any idea of how far you’ve fallen?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  5. anjin-san says:


    In Republican circles it’s now an astonishingly, praiseworthy act simply to acknowledge reality?

    Gillespie should totally get a cookie…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  6. Paul Hooson says:

    He was a quality candidate for the GOP. Better qualified than many candidates. A choice between two good men and candidates here…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0