Ed Gillespie, veteran Republican insider and former party chairman, Thursday announced he's seeking the U.S. Senate seat now held by Democrat Mark Warner.
Gillespie is well-known in national party circles. He was a top adviser to House Majority Leader Richard Armey and chaired former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's 2009 campaign.
He faces an uphill fight against the popular Warner, who won 65 percent of the vote in 2008 over former Gov. James Gilmore.
Gillespie announced his candidacy in a video message.
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"Hi, I’m Ed Gillespie and this is my wife Cathy and our family.
My father came to this country from Ireland because his father found work as a janitor here.
My parents never went to college but they’re two of the smartest people I’ve ever known.
And the hardest working.
They ran their own grocery store, and I grew up working in it with them.
They insisted that I get a college education. And I helped pay for it, as a U.S. Senate parking lot attendant. Over the years, with lots of people’s help and advice, I rose from that parking lot to the West Wing, serving as counselor to the President of the United States.
I’m running for Senate because the American Dream is being undermined by policies that move us away from constitutional principles of limited government and personal liberty.
Cathy and I have raised our family near historic Mount Vernon. And if our nation doesn’t change course, then our children, and yours and theirs will not enjoy the freedom and prosperity of previous generations.
If elected, I’ll be a servant of the people of Virginia. And a leader for policies that grow the middle class and foster upward mobility, enabling people to lift themselves out of poverty.
Policies that will make life better for working families and those who want to work but can’t now find a job.
That includes replacing Obamacare, which kills jobs and costs families the insurance and doctors they like. Senator Mark Warner cast the deciding vote for it. If I were a Virginia Senator, it would not be law today.
Senator Warner promised us fiscal responsibility, but he’s voted for nearly $1 trillion in new taxes and $7 trillion in new federal debt. Meanwhile, Virginia’s share of the national debt has gone up by more than $50,000 per household and incomes down.
It’s time we bring down our debt, raise up our incomes, and reduce unemployment. Some say our weak economy is the new normal. Well it’s the old mediocre, and we can do better.
It begins here in Virginia. And it begins now. I hope you’ll join us."