In a Virginia that seems to be turning purple (with two straight wins by Democratic gubernatorial candidates), Tom Davis probably represents the GOP candidate of the future. He is moderate, and he's from the DC suburbs. But is the Virginia GOP ready for someone so different from Virginia's last GOP Senator -- George Allen?
Davis, who is politically moderate and from Northern Virginia, is considered unlikely to escape a nomination challenge from the ideological right.
Case in point, the Traditional Values Council sent out a press release Wednesday with this blistering headline: “Waxman-Davis Bill Opens Door to Requiring Protections For Wide Range of Bizarre Sexual Acts.”
Former Gov. Jim Gilmore (R), who is currently running for president, is the candidate many Virginia conservatives hope will jump in the race if Warner retires.
Republican Virginia Reps. Eric Cantor and Bob Goodlatte also are mentioned as possibilities.
In Virginia, nominees are chosen either by party primary or convention — a decision that is the incumbent’s to make. In cases where there is no incumbent, the choice falls to the state party’s central committee.
Conventional wisdom holds that Davis likely would fare much better in a primary scenario than at a convention, which would be dominated by social conservatives.
“If it’s a convention, I think that Davis is in big trouble,” said one GOP consultant who is closely aligned with conservatives. “His money advantage is not all that useful at a convention.”