Former RNC chairman makes Virginia race competitive by launching Senate campaign

Virginia just got competitive in 2014.

Former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie officially launched his campaign on Thursday to take on incumbent Democrat Mark Warner in Virginia’s U.S. Senate race this fall.

“It’s official,” Gillespie tweeted Thursday. “I’m running for #VASen.”

The veteran Republican operative and former senior White House aide made clear in a campaign video that he will make Obamacare – and Warner’s vote for it – a top issue in the contest.

“Senator Mark Warner cast the deciding vote for it,” Gillespie said. “If I were Virginia’s senator, it would not be law today.”

While Gillespie is expected to paint Warner as a reliable vote for President Obama, Democrats are arguing that the Democrat has a bipartisan record.

“The truth is that Mark Warner is recognized by both Democrats and Republicans as a leader in the Senate in working across party lines to achieve common sense solutions,” Matt Canter of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee said Thursday.

Gillespie will face several other little-known Republicans at the party’s nominating convention this summer. Because of Gillespie’s ability to fundraise and make the race competitive, Democrats preempted his announcement by hitting him from the right in hopes of giving him problems with conservatives.

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