Blue Dogs Back First Senate Hopeful

Posted October 29, 2008 at 1:52pm

For the first time since its inception in 1995, the House Blue Dog Coalition on Wednesday formally endorsed a U.S. Senate candidate by backing Virginia Democrat Mark Warner.

The group of fiscally conservative House lawmakers said they reached across the Capitol to support Warner, the former Virginia governor, as part of a renewed effort to support like-minded Senate candidates. In the past, the Blue Dogs have only backed House hopefuls.

“I cannot think of a U.S. Senate candidate more deserving of the Blue Dog endorsement than Gov. Mark Warner,” Blue Dog Co-Chairman Mike Ross (D-Ark.) said.

“As governor of Virginia, he was successful in reforming state government and implementing sound, responsible fiscal policies that pulled the state out from under a mountain of debt and allowed for significant investments in education, health care and law enforcement,” Ross said.

Warner, who in recent polls holds a double-digit lead against former GOP Gov. Jim Gilmore, said he is “honored” to be the first Senate candidate endorsed by the Blue Dogs.

“The Blue Dogs and I share a deep commitment to many of the same values such as restoring fiscal responsibility and accountability in government, working for common-sense solutions to make things better for our constituents, protecting our national security and promoting our nation’s competitiveness,” Warner said.

Warner said he also shares the group’s belief that fiscal responsibility isn’t a partisan issue.

“If an idea works, it shouldn’t matter if there’s a ‘D’ or an ‘R’ next to it,” he said.