CHESAPEAKE--Republican candidate Ed Gillespie made his first appearance in Hampton Roads Wednesday since securing his party's nomination for United States Senate last weekend.
In a speech before several dozen supporters at the city's Republican Party headquarters Gillespie took aim at Democratic incumbent Mark Warner.
"Since taking office, he has voted with President Obama 97 percent of the time," Gillespie said.
Gillespie told 13News Now he is not worried that in the last seven state-wide elections, Virginia voters have back Warner, President Obama twice, as well as fellow Democrats Tim Kaine, Terry McAuliffe, Mark Herring and Ralph Northam.
"Virginia is a purple state," he said. "And the pendulum swings here as it does in Senate races, governor races, and I believe the fact that we have all of our state-wide seats are held by a Democrat today is one of the factors that is causing the pendulum to swing. I think a lot of Virginia voters are saying that's too much of one party control for a state like Virginia. And they're looking for a check and balance for President Obama and not a blank check for President Obama. I think it's a factor in my favor in his election."
The Warner campaign responded quickly.
"During his career, Senator Warner has always taken a bipartisan, commonsense approach to boosting Virginia's economy," said Warner Campaign Spokesman David Turner. "He attracted nearly 130,000 new jobs to the Commonwealth as governor and has introduced legislation to boost small businesses and incentivize companies to bring back high tech and manufacturing jobs in the U.S. Senate. This is why Republicans and independent news organizations alike have praised his ability to bring people together to solve problems."
Turner pointed to a National Journal survey which ranked Warner as the Senate's 51st most liberal member out of one hundred.
The same study listed him as the 9th most conservative Democrat in the Senate. Turner also provided an "open congress" report which found that Warner voted with Republicans 60 percent of the time.