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Kilgore, Others Support Davis Over Gilmore

In advance of today’s announcement by former Gov. Mark Warner (D) that he’ll run for the state’s open Senate seat in 2008, former state Attorney General Jerry Kilgore (R) and a slew of state Republican officials released a letter Wednesday announcing that they are supporting Rep. Tom Davis (R) in the contest to replace Sen. John Warner (R).

Kilgore, a leading conservative who made an unsuccessful bid for governor in 2005, is the first high-profile GOP official to lend his support in what will likely be a bloody Republican nominating fight between Davis, a moderate, and the more conservative Jim Gilmore (R), who was governor before Warner.

In an acknowledgement of what is expected to be an uphill contest for any Republican facing Mark Warner, who remains a very popular figure in state politics, Kilgore and the eight other Virginia GOP officials said in their letter that they are supporting Davis in part because he has “never shied away from the toughest of challenges.”

John Warner’s retirement marks “a pivotal moment in the history of Virginia’s Republican Party,” the letter says. “We believe the person best-suited to represent our principles and keep the seat in Republican hands is Congressman Tom Davis.”

— John McArdle

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