GW alumnus and Virginia Gov. Mark Warner could be tapped as a running mate for the Democratic presidential nominee.
Vice Presidential rumors began to surround Warner after he endorsed Sen. John Kerry, who will face President Bush in the November general election.
Warner announced his support for Kerry last month after the two ate breakfast and watched Bush’s appearance on “Meet the Press” at his Governor’s mansion.
Warner praised Kerry’s national security policy and said the Massachusetts senator would face a large budget deficit if he succeeds Bush.
“He knows that the war on terror is fought not only abroad but at home as well,” said Warner, as reported by the Associated Press.
Kerry won the Virginia Democratic Primary two days later, which analysts partly attributed to Warner’s endorsement.
Larry J. Sabato, a political science professor and director of the University of Virginia’s Center of Politics, said Warner would give the Democratic nominee some much-needed support in Southern states.
“Warner is an attractive candidate, having been elected governor in a Republican state,” he said. “He made a well-timed and shrewd endorsement right before the Virginia and Tennessee primaries that gave Kerry a tremendous momentum.”
In the last few weeks, Warner has been the subject of vice presidential jabber in articles in The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Washington Post and The Washington Times.
Laura Bland, director of communication for the Democratic Party of Virginia, cautioned against giving too much credence to the rumors.
“It’s always exciting when you hear your governor mentioned as a potential national candidate,” Bland said. “But it’s important that not everybody get too caught up in all the buzz.
Kerry won the Tennessee and Virginia primaries by comfortable margins and was flanked by Warner during his nationally televised victory speech.
Since his election in January 2002, Warner said he has worked to improve medical coverage and create jobs in Virginia. He said he has focused on state issues, and not the vice presidential buzz, in the last few weeks.
“It is flattering, but my plate is full here in Richmond as I try to push budget and tax reform through the legislature,” said Warner in a statement prepared by his press office.
In a May interview with The Hatchet, Warner declined to talk about his political future and reaffirmed his desire to make significant inroads against a multibillion dollar state fiscal deficit.
Warner, 49, received his bachelor’s degree from GW in 1977 and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1980.
Warner, a former member of GW’s Board of Trustees, keynoted the May 2003 Commencement ceremony and recalled his four years at Foggy Bottom in an hour-long Hatchet interview.
“I played some sports, partied and worked,” said Warner in an interview several days before making his Commencement speech. “My experience was probably not that much different from some of today’s college students.”
Warner’s name hasn’t been the only subject of running mate rumors.
“Lots of people are pushing for John Edwards,” said Sabato of the North Carolina senator who dropped out of the presidential race Wednesday.
Kerry may want to run with a Southerner, said Sabato, or someone from a different area of the country. Other possible vice presidential candidates include New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Gary Locke, the departing Washington governor.
There might also be downsides to selecting Warner as a running mate, said Sabato, noting that Kerry and Warner are both wealthy. He said the two men could come across as “un-populist.”
–Michael Barnett contributed to this report.