By Zebrina Edgerton-Maloy
With almost all precincts reporting, Virginia’s U.S. Senate race between incumbent Democrat Mark Warner and Republican challenger Ed Gillespie remained too close to call late Tuesday night.
No matter who emerges as the victor, the result will be a surprise to many because the race was so close. Most polls showed Warner with about a 10 percentage point lead over Gillespie going into Election Day. Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis trailed far behind both Warner and Gillespie.
Neither Warner nor Gillespie had conceded late Tuesday night, and neither had asked for a recount. By state law, either candidate may ask for a recount if fewer than 1 percent of the total votes cast separate them.
With several Republican victories in Senate races nationwide Tuesday, and control of the Senate at stake, the Virginia race was suddenly attracting keen attention. As little as two weeks ago, Warner had a seemingly insurmountable lead over Gillespie in the polls.
During a bitter and largely negative campaign, Gillespie tried to portray Warner as a close ally of President Obama. Warner in turn repeatedly brought up Gillespie’s past as a Washington lobbyist.
But Gillespie and Warner did offer voters clear choices on several key issues:
The Affordable Care Act (ACA):
Warner said on his website that the health care law is not perfect and that he wanted to “fix the parts that aren’t working”, while keeping the good parts of the law.
According to his campaign website, Gillespie wanted to replace the ACA with policies that “put patients first, provide more affordable options, and do not include a mandate.”
Warner said he “believes that women have the right to make their own health and reproductive decisions,” according to his website.
Gillespie said he is pro-life, but believes there should be exceptions to abortion limitations “for the life of the mother, rape and incest,” according to The Roanoke Times.
According to The Roanoke Times, Warner calls himself a strong defender of the Second Amendment, but he says “there are responsible steps we can and should take to address the increasing gun violence in our country” that don’t infringe on those rights.
Gillespie said on his website that he “will oppose efforts to infringe upon our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms, which is an individual right.”
Warner said on his website that he is a “strong supporter of comprehensive immigration reform that secures America’s borders making it easier for foreign-born graduates of U.S. universities to remain in America to launch new companies.”
Gillespie said on his website he believes that “we have not only a right but a responsibility to secure our borders” and “we must also enforce our existing laws.”
Warner founded the bipartisan Senate Gang of Six to “find commonsense solutions to fix our nation’s deficit, strengthen entitlement programs and reform our tax code,” according to his website.
Gillespie said he wants to “provide tax relief for families and businesses that are struggling under the Obama-Warner policies, and lower the highest corporate tax rate in the world which is driving American jobs, investment and businesses overseas,” according to The Roanoke Times.