DNC Keynoter Is Red-State Success Story

Former Va. governor Warner brings biz cred, NASCAR sensibility
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Aug 26, 2008 1:17 PM CDT
"Mark, as governor, I think understood that for a state to be successful, you%u2019ve got to grow all areas of the state," Barack Obama says of Warner's popularity in rural Virginia.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Keynoting tonight at the Democratic Convention is former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, who broke through partisan gridlock despite the state’s conservative tilt and his own northern roots, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Warner, a successful businessman before entering politics, was elected governor of Virginia in 2001. Though faced with a Republican legislature and one-term limit, he left office a huge success.

Warner’s “genuine” style helped him become the first Democrat to carry Virginia’s rural vote. Says one insider: “Mark understood—and it’s a lesson so many Democrats ought to be taking from him—that you don’t have to be from the culture to be accepted by the culture.” After opting against his own presidential bid, polls show Warner is likely to win his US Senate race—and maybe turn Virginia blue.