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Could the Old Dominion give birth again?
Presidential Op-Ed

 Mark Warner (D-Va., right) and the GOP's Bob McDonnell (center right) are considered contenders for nomination to their respective party's presidential bid in 2016.
CAROLYN KASTER/AP PHOTO
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Date published: 4/24/2013

TO VIRGINIANS, the state's senior Democrat and its senior Republican both are presidential material.

Residents of the Old Dominion identified both Sen. Mark Warner (D) and Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) as top contenders in their parties' next presidential nomination contests, according to a new University of Mary Washington survey.

Mark Warner garnered 18 percent support of those who said they might vote in the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination contest, second only to Hillary Clinton, with 38 percent support. Vice President Joe Biden was a distant third among potential Democratic candidates with 10 percent support.

Another 16 percent named Warner as their second choice, meaning that 34 percent of the state residents who said they might participate in the 2016 contest ranked him as their top choice or a runner-up.

Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell also claimed second place among his party's more crowded field of possible candidates. McDonnell captured 12 percent of potential primary voters, trailing only New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who had 18 percent support.

McDonnell's support was comparable to that of former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a Tea Party favorite, both of whom had 11 percent support.

Another 10 percent named McDonnell as their second choice, meaning that he was ranked first or second by 22 percent of the state's potential primary voters. Christie was ranked first or second by 26 percent, only slightly above McDonnell's total.

The Virginia results, generally speaking, are good news for the state's notoriously ambitious political class, particularly since both parties may end up looking for alternatives to the potential front-runners. Clinton's recent health problems have raised questions about whether she will run again, and Christie's endorsement of President Obama's response to Hurricane Sandy hurt him with the GOP's conservative wing.


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