John Warner has served Virginia in the Senate for nearly three decades and, today, he announced that he would not seek re-election to a sixth term in 2008:
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Aug. 31 — John William Warner, who entered the Senate 28 years ago best known for marrying actress Elizabeth Taylor and grew into an elder statesman and Republican maverick highly regarded for his expertise in defense matters, announced his retirement Friday.
Warner, 80, chose the north steps of the Rotunda on the University of Virginia campus, where he was a law student a half-century ago, to reveal his widely-anticipated decision that he would not seek a sixth term in 2008.
“I will conclude my service to Virginia as a senator when I complete this, my fifth term, on January 6, 2009,” Warner said. The former Navy Secretary and past chairman of the Armed Services Committee said he wrestled with the decision, which he came to “in the last day or two.”
In the end, he said, it was the rigors of Senate service as he enters his 80s and the importance of letting the next generation of Senate leaders step up that drove his choice.
“I’m going to quietly step aside,” he said.
Typically for Warner, a classy move. You can argue with his politics, but you can’t argue that the guy doesn’t have a certain degree of class that is lacking in almost any politician under the age of 50.
But now, the battle begins.
On the Republican side, we have, at the very least, Congressman Tom Davis and former Governor Jim Gilmore. To which I say, preliminarily at least, Go Gilmore !.
For the Democrats, quite clearly, former Governor Mark Warner.
2008 will be a very interesting year.