Mark R. Warner is going door to door on Halloween with a nifty disguise. The freshman Democratic senator is wearing the mask of a moderate. It’s a trick to get his liberal voting record past Virginians amid the wave of anti-Democratic sentiment sweeping the nation.
Mr. Warner is leading Ed Gillespie, his Republican challenger, but not so comfortably as he once did. He remains below the 50 percent mark in the polls, and that’s a place no incumbent wants to be only four or five days out. Voters think they already know him. He’s not likely to pick up more votes before Tuesday. Mr. Gillespie is only now getting widely known, and can expect to pick up support as Virginia sees him as the most authentic man in the race.
New numbers compiled by CQ Weekly tear away Mr. Warner’s moderate mask to reveal someone with a perfect 117-for-117 record of backing President Obama’s liberal agenda in the Senate. Whenever the White House says jump, Mr. Warner dutifully asks, “How high?”
Mr. Warner boasts of reaching across the aisle to co-sponsor bills. It’s part of the Halloween disguise. “He likes to tout his bipartisan work,” says Republican strategist Ford O’Connell, “but he’s really been a pack mule for Obama and the Democrats.”