Mark Warner Takes Steps Towards Presidential Run
As long suspected, Virginia Governor Mark Warner is making the necessary moves to run for president in 2008.
Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) is forming a federal political action committee and has hired a former top aide to Vice President Al Gore to advise him on national politics, the governor’s top political aide in Virginia said. The new PAC, which has not been named, will allow Warner to begin raising money for a possible run at the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 while he finishes out his term in Virginia. The PAC will be announced formally in July or August, said Mary A. “Mame” Reiley, the director of Warner’s One Virginia PAC.
Warner has raised millions for One Virginia, which reported a balance of $1.6 million as of April 1. But federal law prohibits the governor from spending money raised in his state PAC on a federal campaign. Virginia does not put limits on campaign contributions from individuals or corporations.
Reiley said Warner, a multi-millionaire who is limited to one term as governor, has also hired Monica Dixon, Gore’s former deputy chief of staff, to be the federal PAC’s first part-time consultant. She said Dixon will help set up meetings between Warner and Democrats across the country as he makes the transition from governor back to private citizen. “She’s coming on board as an adviser to him on the national arena,” Reiley said of Dixon. “Monica Dixon will be one of the people advising him. She brings a wealth of national experience. We’re delighted that she’s coming aboard.”
Warner has not said whether he is going to run for president, although he is mentioned frequently among Washington pundits as a centrist Democrat who might win in conservative states that Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) lost to President Bush in 2004.
The Virginia governor has also not said whether he will challenge U.S. Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), who is up for reelection next year. Warner would need a federal PAC to raise money for a Senate race.
Reiley would not say whether the new PAC, which she called a “federal leadership committee,” is designed to facilitate either a presidential or a Senate campaign. “Not necessarily,” she said. “He’s not ruling out any of his political options. He’ll be traveling and contributing to [other] federal candidates.”
What’s interesting is that Warner’s predecessor, Allen, is involved in both options. Not only would Allen be Warner’s opponent in a 2006 Senate race but Allen is widely considered to be considering a 2008 presidential bid of his own.