Skip to comments.Social Conservatives Rally to Marshall in VA Senate Race
Posted on 04/11/2008 6:31:57 AM PDT by Gopher Broke
Social Conservatives Rally to Marshall in VA Senate Race
By Evan Moore
April 11, 2008
(CNSNews.com) - In the race for the seat of retiring Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), a delegate in the Virginia Legislature is mounting a campaign against a former governor and presidential candidate, amassing support from social conservatives, and has an opportunity to win the Republican Party nomination, according to some experts in Old Dominion politics.
Bob Marshall, a Republican delegate in the state's General Assembly from Prince William County, is challenging Jim Gilmore, a former Virginia governor and a candidate for the 2008 GOP nomination for the presidency. Running on a campaign of "Life, Liberty, and Prosperity," Marshall is capitalizing on apparent discontent in his party over Gilmore.
Meanwhile, polls show that either candidate faces an enormous challenge against popular former Democratic Gov. Mark Warner (no relation to the retiring senator) in November's general election.
Vincent Harris, a leading figure in the Old Dominion political blogosphere, told Cybercast News Service, "Delegate Marshall's campaign has been great at riling up the religiously conservative base. ... His constituency appears to be made up of church-goers, pro-lifers, and voters who would base their political preference on moral issues."
Marshall's Web site includes a list of social conservative luminaries who have endorsed him, including leaders from groups such as Concerned Women for America, Family Research Council Action, Republican National Coalition for Life and Family Policy Network.
Dr. Robert Roberts, professor of political science at James Madison University, told Cybercast News Service, "Gilmore was never ruled a social conservative as governor. He was primarily focused on what we call economic conservatives - cutting taxes - that form of the Republican Party.
"So, Marshall feels that the social issues are more important and should have a greater priority versus the economic issues," said Roberts. "I think he's making an argument to that wing of the party that he's more supportive of their values, than Gilmore, who's really focusing more on economic issues."
However, Marshall rejected the notion that his campaign was primarily driven by social conservatives in an interview with Cybercast News Service, in which he highlighted 15 issues listed on his Web site that he thinks distinguish him from Gilmore.
Harris, however, noted that Marshall's social conservative message may be his strongest card to play against Gilmore.
"Since before the recent Virginia GOP Advance [an annual informal gathering of Republican activists and politicians], Delegate Marshall has been vocally upset at Governor Gilmore for his stance on abortion," said Harris.
"While Governor Gilmore would bring up his record, when asked point blank on the abortion issue, Governor Gilmore is pro-choice," he added.
Ana Gamonal, media spokesman for Gilmore's campaign, discussed the former governor's record in an interview with Cybercast News Service.
"[Gilmore's] record when he was in the strongest position to advance the pro-life cause, which was when he was governor, is second-to-none," she said. "He was the most pro-life and proactive governor that Virginia's had," Gamonal added.
Gilmore, she said, "does not favor abortion in any circumstance."
Gamonal continued, highlighting Gilmore's support for, and signing into law, state legislation that banned partial-birth abortions, enacted a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking abortion and required parental notification for minors seeking abortions.
Gilmore also increased funding for adoption services in the commonwealth and created an abstinence-education program for Virginia's public schools, Gamonal said, which in her words was recently "dismantled" by the current Democratic governor and possible vice presidential pick for Sen. Barack Obama, Tim Kaine.
Harris thinks that Marshall, nonetheless, will face long odds at the nominating convention, which starts May 30. "Marshall may come close to winning in the convention, but I believe Governor Gilmore's superior organization and name recognition will win him the day," said Harris.
Roberts, however, was more optimistic.
"Absolutely, Marshall has a clear shot at it," he said. "When you look across the convention system, a number of those delegate-candidates who are going to a caucus-convention are social conservatives. So, [Gilmore] faces a real challenge within the party to appeal to social conservatives who may dominate the convention.
"The Republican Party is primarily a grassroots party - not like the Democratic Party, which is more hierarchical." Roberts noted. "The Republican Party is grassroots, and that's how Allen and Gilmore built the party in the 90s, from the bottom-up."
"[Party] leaders can't deliver the [convention] delegates, bottom-line," he said. "The delegates are going to be delivered at the grassroots."
Gilmore’s high unfavorable rating (40%+), negative attitude and support for UNLIMITED ABORTION ON DEMAND in the first 8 weeks of pregnancy will hurt him with social conservatives.
Also, he is on the Board of Directors of Barr Labs, which makes the “morning after” abortion pill.
And, he is polling 30 pts behind Warner. Both Warner and Gilmore are very well known, so Gilmore cannot possibly beat Warner.
I doubt Marshall has a prayer of beating Gilmore in a convention (Gilmore wanted a convention for a reason), and I don’t think he could beat Warner, either.
That's it. One vote for Gilmore here.
[Gilmore] was primarily focused on what we call economic conservatives - cutting taxes
Not even economic conservatives if they were, they’d want to reign in Budgets too, and cut govie programs. Including ecomic stimulus to businesses (ie-corporate welfare).
Gilmore I doubt he is one, and even if so it’s sad to try to cut out social conservative infl at the expense of so called business development (which really isn’t except for a few corporations located in Richmond and the big cities).
At least Marshall is the whole package CONSERVATIVELY (or have you forgotten his fight to elimiate the Northern VA Transportation Authority’s illigal taxes..?)
Gilmore is RINO-vote for him if you want, just know what you’re getting-Party Anointed RINOS!
Bob Marshall is also a strong economic conservative. It’s just that his position on that matter doesn’t distinguish him from Gilmore, who also had a good economic record.
That’s why Marshall balked at the characterization made by CNS, since it implied that he was a “social” conservative, while Gilmore was the “economic” conservative. Marshall is both.
My biggest concern with Marshall would be his ability to raise money. He’s never really had much of an organization for fundraising, until his last election, and he’s never really needed it, because he had a great volunteer organization (he didn’t even pay a campaign staff).
But now he’ll need access to the money people across the state. Gilmore already has that from his run for Governor, although he had little luck raising funds for his presidential run.
Marshall, while a local delegate, does have statewide name recognition among the base because his name was on our pro-Marriage amendment (Marshall-Neumann). He’s been a strong advocate for things that make the liberals really upset.
Good point Charles! Cheers.
Come on. Heavily quoting Vincent Harris of “Too Conservative” — the blog that was exposed for Harris making a vast majority of the “visitor comments” himself under assumed names. Besides, he’s going to college in TX now and hardly even writes anymore about VA.