Today (July 19) the two candidates debated at The Homestead in Bath County at an event hosted by the Virginia Bar Association. The pitiful underdog, Gilmore, had only one objective - to attack... prior to the debate Gilmore promised to "smoke him (Warner) out." But, like Luke Skywalker, Mr. Warner deflected every jab and blow. As Virginia Tech political commentator Robert Denton said of the lively debate, "Mark Warner more than held his own."
Some pipe-smoking Republicans like the SWACgirls of fantasyland think a miracle Jim Gilmore win is possible. They point to '06 when the "sure to win" incumbent, George Allen, was upset by Jim Webb. Allen lost because Virginians had already grown skeptical of his leadership - and doubts grew as he made dumb statements and empty promises. Gilmore will never get any traction at all because he suffers the same afflictions. Virginians know all too well about his failures as governor. Even Republicans barely nominated him and haven't exactly been supporting him with money or volunteers. Supporting that point - a new Rasmussen Poll shows Warner leading 57% to 34%.
Listen to the debate for yourself on the WMRA podcast, but an acoustic warning, the sound isn't the best. For more coverage check out Richmond Times-Dispatch and The Roanoke Times (AP).
My conclusion: Mark Warner has a lot to crow about. Jim Gilmore is a dumb cluck - even Republicans know it. Expect a 20 point win for Mr. Warner. Only the badly cracked eggs support Jimmy.