By Zebrina Edgerton-Maloy
The moment of truth is near in Virginia’s U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Mark Warner, his GOP challenger Ed Gillespie and Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis.
According to Real Clear Politics, Warner headed into Election Day with a 10-point lead over Gillespie. But that lead was smaller than it had been a few weeks ago.
Tensions rose as Election Day neared. Warner has consistently brought up Gillespie’s past as a Washington, D.C. lobbyist. According to Politifact, Gillespie has claimed that Warner often votes with and backs President Obama. Gillespie is trying to prove that Warner isn’t as bipartisan as Warner claims.
Here are the three candidates’ varying views on key issues:
The Affordable Care Act (ACA)
Warner said on his website that the health care law is not perfect and that he wants to “fix what needs to be fixed”, while keeping the good parts of the law. Warner claims that he does not want to go back to a time when women were charged more than men, people’s coverage was dropped when they got sick or when insurers denied coverage because of pre-existing health conditions.
According to his campaign website, Gillespie wants to replace the ACA with policies that “put patients first, provide more affordable options, and do not include a mandate.” Gillespie is also promising his own health care option that would help “six million more people with private health insurance than under [ACA].”
Sarvis said the health care system needs deregulation on the state and federal level because the ACA “is proof that centralized planning by politicians and bureaucrats simply doesn’t work.”
Warner says he “trusts the women of Virginia to make their own health care decisions, in consultation with their families and their doctor.”
Gillespie says he is pro-life, but believes there should be exceptions to abortion limitations “for the life of the mother, rape and incest.” However, he also believes that we need to “foster a culture that respects human life.”
Sarvis said on his website, “Congress does not have the power to pass laws restricting abortions.”
According to On The Issues, 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. Warner supports amending the Virginia Constitution to preserve hunting and fishing 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.” He also said he reveres the Second Amendment as much as the First Amendment, according to On The Issues.
Sarvis says he is the “only candidate committed to protecting the entire Bill of Rights,” including “protecting the gun rights of law-abiding gun owners.”
Warner said on his website that he supports a comprehensive immigration bill that would “double the amount of border security” and provide “a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who are here now and have followed the law.”
Gillespie takes pride in being the son of an Irish immigrant. He also believes that “we have not only a right but a responsibility to secure our borders” and “we must also enforce our existing laws.” Gillespie says he does not believe that our nation will implement mass deportation of millions of immigrants, so we need to come to terms with those who are here illegally now.
Sarvis is a proud son of a Chinese immigrant mother. He said he supports “modernizing our immigration laws and expanding legal immigration,” and that the U.S. should make it easier for those who want to move here and work here peacefully.
Warner founded the bipartisan Gang of Six to resolve the budget deficit because he said the U.S. needs a “balanced” approach to deal with the country’s debt.
Gillespie says 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.”
Sarvis said, “Taxes should be simple and few. Taxes should have broad bases and low rates…. Taxes should also be designed to ensure that increases in government spending are felt by all.”
Warner is seeking a second Senate term and has been consistently ahead in the polling. Throughout his campaign, he has been touting his efforts at bipartisanship in legislation.
Gillespie firmly believes that his campaigning will help close the gap with Warner by Election Day. He is a former Republican National Committee chairman and White House adviser under President George W. Bush.
Libertarian Sarvis has presented himself as an alternative for those who don’t want the traditional two-party system.