Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie delivered a shock to Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) tonight in a seat that was considered reliably Democratic.
The shock? That Gillespie came so close despite a steady lead for Warner in the polls.
The race ended up so close that Warner declared victory late in the night but Gillespie had not conceded.
“We are going to be patient here and be respectful of all the voters,” Gillespie said. He didn’t say if the campaign would ask for a recount, but the margin means he’d be able to under state law.
Warner took 49 percent of the vote to 48.5 percent for Warner with 99.9 percent of precincts reporting.
That was a difference of 12,150 votes separating the two.
Libertarian Robert Sarvis, who ran for governor last year, took a notable chunk of the vote: 53,594 votes, or 2.4 percent.
Gillespie took giant swaths of rural areas in Virginia while Warner’s saving grace was suburban D.C.
Warner, who touted the endorsement of former GOP Sen. John Warner, was confident at a rally in Old Town Alexandria on Monday night.
“They want bipartisan problem-solvers and that’s what I’ve been about,” Mark Warner said. “If we don’t find that common ground, we have the stupidity of sequestration coming rushing back next year and those commitments, not just on the military side, but on our ability to invest in education and infrastructure and research, will be sadly undermined.”
Gillespie vowed Monday to a crowd in Sterling, not far from D.C., that “we are going to surprise a lot of the experts in Washington, D.C., here in Virginia tomorrow.”
“We have been outspent, you’ve probably noticed that. But we have not been outworked — and hard work beats big money every time,” Gillespie said.