A U.S. Army veteran whose right leg was amputated after he was wounded in Iraq will represent Republicans in the party’s bid to unseat Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., in November.
Daniel Gade, who teaches at American University and resides in Alexandria, defeated Army reservist Thomas Speciale and Nottoway County civics teacher Alissa Baldwin and will run against Warner.
The race was the only statewide primary on June 23 in an election in which poll workers took extra precautions due to the continued spread of COVID-19.
Statewide, Gade will look to become the first Republican to carry Virginia since 2009, when Bob McDonnell led a GOP sweep for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. Since President Donald Trump’s 2016 election the GOP has lost ground in the state, ceding its control of the legislature and the majority in the state’s Congressional delegation.
Gade matches up against a favored incumbent seeking his third term. Warner, a former governor, is likely to benefit this year from higher name recognition, a big fundraising advantage and the higher turnout of a presidential election that traditionally boosts Virginia Democrats. Warner narrowly won re-election to his Senate seat in 2014.
“I’m not taking anything for granted,” Warner said during a virtual town hall June 22, the same day he challenged the eventual nominee to three debates. “I’m going to welcome whoever is the Republican opponent into the race and I intend to leave no part of Virginia behind.”
Republicans chose Warner’s 2014 opponent, eventual gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie, through a convention. This year, the party opted for a primary, with voters backing Gade, the recipient of the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.
The father of three received 67% of the vote, according to unofficial results from the Virginia Department of Elections. Baldwin received the second-most support at 18%, followed by Speciale at 14%.
Amherst County was solidly behind Gade, who received 1,082 votes, or 76% of the turnout. Baldwin had 13% of the vote in Amherst and Speciale had 10.5%, according to the Virginia Department of Elections.
“Republicans have a real opportunity this year,” Gade said at his watch party. “We can win on the issues. We can win on issues that matter at kitchen tables in Virginia like health care, economic recovery and rights that are under attack from Virginia and Washington Democrats.”
Reach Justin Faulconer at (434) 385-5551.