TYSONS CORNER, Va. – Former Virginia governor and GW graduate Mark Warner easily won a Virginia U.S. Senate seat Tuesday night.
Warner garnered more than 60 percent of the vote in the election, defeating Republican opponent and former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore.
“I am proud to stand in front of you as a new United States senator,” Warner told more than 700 supporters and top Virginia politicians at a campaign celebration in the McLean Hilton.
In his acceptance speech, Warner pinpointed energy, the economy and bipartisanship in Washington as the foundations for his political future. As the crowd chanted, “Yes we can,” Warner spoke about how he plans to resolve the problems.
“We cannot get the nation on the right track if we continue to look at every problem with the old ideas of red versus blue or black versus white,” Warner said.
During his four years as governor, Warner was known for establishing a bipartisan approach to solving issues – a strategy he promised to bring to the Senate.
Warner, who graduated GW in 1977 with a political science degree, was consistently ahead of his opponent in polls leading up to the election.
“This is Mark Warner’s night. This is Barack Obama’s night. This is the Democratic Party’s night. This is America’s night,” said Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., at the event.
When Warner, who once served on GW’s Board of Trustees, joins Webb on Capitol Hill in January, it will be the first time since 1970 that Democrats have held the commonwealth’s two Senate seats.
Sophomore Robert Nelson attended the event as an intern for Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va. Nelson said that he is a “huge fan of Warner’s.”
“It’s kind of like getting presents on Christmas,” Nelson said. “We expected it, but it still feels really good.”
Virginia resident Landan Manteghi, who voted for Warner on Tuesday morning, said that a head cold did not deter her from coming to support her choice candidate.
“He was an amazing leader as governor,” Manteghi said. “One day Mark Warner will be on the ballot for president of the United States.”
Enthusiastic constituents were optimistic about Warner’s election.
“He knows this state. He knows the people. He knows how to compromise,” Virginia resident Richard Dick said. “Now he will be a great leader in the U.S. Senate. He is what Washington needs.”
Warner also sounded an optimistic note.
“We dug Virginia out of a ditch,” Warner said. “We can do the same thing and make America the most competitive nation in the world – if we do it together.”