Democratic V.P. List Might Soon Shrink

Mark Warner might run for Va. Senate seat, taking himself off V.P. list.

ByABC News
January 8, 2009, 1:06 AM

Aug. 31, 2007 — -- Now that Republican Sen. John Warner has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2008, the vice president list on the Democratic side might soon shrink.

That's because Democrat Mark Warner, the popular former governor of Virginia who gave serious consideration to a presidential bid in 2008, is leaning toward getting into the Senate race, according to Democrats familiar with his thinking.

If Mark Warner gets into the Senate race, his advisers acknowledge that it will effectively remove him from consideration for the No. 2 spot on the Democratic presidential ticket.

Warner has been seen by Democratic strategists as a potentially attractive running mate because he left office with an approval rating of 80 percent despite governing in a traditionally Republican state.

"It would be very difficult for a nominee to go to Sen. [Chuck] Schumer and say, 'We would like to have one of your best Democratic pickup opportunities leave the Senate race,'" a Warner adviser told ABC News.

As chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Schumer is the man in charge of electing Democrats to the Senate. At present, the party enjoys a slim 51-49 majority.

While Mark Warner appears to be leaning toward a Senate run, it is not his only option.

He has also thought of making another run for governor in 2009, when Virginia's Constitution will force Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine to leave office. While the commonwealth's constitution prohibits governors from serving consecutive terms, it does not bar them from serving multiple nonconsecutive terms.

If Warner were to run for governor, it would keep him in the hunt for the No. 2 slot on the presidential ticket. If he were passed over in 2008, he would still be well-positioned to run for governor the following year.

While Warner's executive image of himself is more in tune with the job of governor, the fact that not all of his daughters are done with high school in northern Virginia is one factor adding to the Senate's appeal.