Warner opts for Senate

Former Virginia Gov. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerElection security to take back seat at Mueller hearing Top Democrats demand security assessment of Trump properties Senate passes bill making hacking voting systems a federal crime MORE (D) will announce Thursday that he will run for his state’s open Senate seat in 2008, according to a source familiar with his plans.

Warner is expected to send an e-mail to supporters Thursday morning to detail his plans. He will seek the seat of Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), who announced two weeks ago that he would retire after five terms in the Senate.

Mark Warner’s entry hands Democrats one of their biggest recruiting wins of the cycle and severely imperils another Republican seat.

He should have the Democratic primary to himself, as no Democrat in the state matches his stature and other potential candidates were deferring to him.

The Republican nominee will likely emerge from a field that includes Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) and former Gov. Jim Gilmore (R), who will make their plans known after November’s state legislature elections.

Mark Warner, who lost narrowly to John Warner for the same seat in 1996, topped both Davis and Gilmore by at least 20 points in a Rasmussen poll released this week. He remains very popular in the state and has a 68 percent favorability rating.

Warner has also flirted with running for governor again in 2009 and formed an exploratory committee for the 2008 presidential campaign last year before unexpectedly backing out. He was considered by many to be a strong potential vice presidential candidate.

Democrats could have more good news in the coming weeks, as former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey (D) and former New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenPoll: McConnell is most unpopular senator How to reduce Europe's dependence on Russian energy Epstein charges show Congress must act to protect children from abuse MORE (D) are expected to announce whether they will run in 2008. Each represents Democrats’ top choice in their respective states and figures to improve markedly the party’s chances.