The Washington Post

Gillespie launches U.S. Senate bid in Virginia

Update 11:47 a.m.: Gillespie's Web site is now live at An accompanying web video is above. The original post follows:

Former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie will launch his Virginia Senate campaign Thursday, according to a person with knowledge of his plans.

The launch will be relatively low-key, with no public event. Instead, Gillespie will unveil a new Web site for his campaign.

Gillespie is challenging one-term Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), a former governor who remains popular in his home state.

Gillespie will begin his campaign by touring the state to meet with activists, in hopes of winning the GOP nomination at the state party convention in Roanoke in June.

Virginia Republicans have opted to pick their nominee by convention rather than in a primary, leaving a more establishment-friendly Republican like Gillespie more vulnerable to a conservative challenger.

Two other Republicans — Shak Hill, a Centreville financial planner, and Howie Lind, a former Pentagon official and lobbyist from McLean — have launched campaigns, but a handful of conservative activists are trying behind the scenes to recruit a more high-profile candidate who can challenge Gillespie from the right at a convention. Though Gillespie has worked over the years to develop solid relationships with many conservative groups, some activists are put off by his role with Karl Rove in creating American Crossroads, a group that often supports establishment GOP candidates over tea party-backed challengers.


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