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Virginia gubernatorial election, 2001

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The 2001 Virginia gubernatorial election was held on November 6, 2001, following a Republican convention on June 2, 2001.[1] Mark Warner (D) ran against Mark Earley (R) and William "Bill" Redpath (L), and won the election with 52.16% of the popular vote.[2]

Race background

Jim Gilmore, the Republican governor elected in 2001, could not run for re-election due to Virginia's term limits. The term limits Virginia imposes on its governors are more strict than any other state in the country: under the commonwealth's constitution, no governor may serve back-to-back terms.


Virginia (Gubernatorial Election, 2001).PNG
Governor of Virginia General Election, 2001
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngMark Warner 52.2% 984,177
     Republican Mark Earley 47% 887,234
     Libertarian Bill Redpath 0.8% 14,497
     None Write In 0% 813
Total Votes 1,886,721


General Election Candidates

Democratic Party Mark WarnerGreen check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Mark Earley
Libertarian Party Bill Redpath

Candidate Background
  • Mark Warner received his bachelor's degree from George Washington University, and his law degree from Harvard Law School. He co-founded the cell phone company that went on to become Nextel. From 1993-1995 Warner was the Virginia Democratic Party chairman.
  • Mark Earley was the former state attorney general.[3]
  • Bill Redpath was the vice president for BIA Financial Network, Inc before becoming the Ballot Access Chair for the Libertarian party in 1990.[4]

Primary candidates

Democratic candidates

Republican candidates

  • Mark Earley
  • John Hager
Candidate Background
  • John Hager, was the Lieutenant governor of Virginia from 1997-2001. Previously, Hager held the position of senior vice president of the Leaf and Specialty Products Division of the American Tobacco Company.[5]

Nominating conventions

Nominating Conventions in Virginia

The candidate selection process in Virginia differs between the political parties. According to the Code of Virginia:[6]

“The duly constituted authorities of the state political party shall have the right to determine the method by which a party nomination for a member of the United States Senate or for any statewide office shall be made. The duly constituted authorities of the political party for the district, county, city, or town in which any other office is to be filled shall have the right to determine the method by which a party nomination for that office shall be made.”

Democratic Party

The Democratic Party in Virginia used conventions to select nominees for statewide offices between 1981 and 2001 before shifting to primaries. The Virginia Democratic Party switched to the convention format for the 1981 election cycle to moderate the party after independent candidate Henry Howell won the 1977 primary. The nominating convention proved successful for Democrats in the 1980s with the election of Chuck Robb in 1981, Gerald Baliles in 1985 and Douglas Wilder in 1989. The change back to primaries in 2001 took place because of significant losses in state elections by the Democrats in 1993 and 1997.[7]

  • Warner ran unopposed in 2001 so no Democratic primary was held.

Republican Party

The Republican Party in Virginia has used conventions to select nominees for statewide offices for much of its history. Republicans have only used primaries to nominate candidates in 1949, 1989, 1997 and 2005.[7] The convention process used in most elections draws from delegates selected by Republicans during municipal and county conventions. The number of delegates per county depends on the strength of the Republican Party in past elections.[8]

Delegates cast their votes on separate ballots for each statewide office. Any candidates who are uncontested automatically receive the party’s nomination. Contested races start with a ballot to determine if a candidate can surpass the 50% threshold. A candidate who wins more than 50% of first-round ballots receives the nomination for that office. If the first round of ballots does not clear this threshold, the two candidates with the fewest votes are eliminated. The balloting process cuts candidates in each round until three candidates remain. A ballot is taken to eliminate a third-place finisher and a final ballot is taken between the two remaining candidates.[9]

  • Earley was nominated by the GOP at the convention on June 2, 2001.


2001 Gubernatorial Race Polls
Poll Warner (D) Earley (R)Redpath (L)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Roanoke College
October 30, 2001]
Mason-Dixon Poll
September 15, 2001]
AVERAGES 45.5% 38% 1% 15.5% +/-4.4 524
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.

Campaign finance

The Virginia State Board of Elections administers campaign finance law and maintains all records online.

General Election

Warner won election to the position of Governor of Virginia in 2001. During that election cycle, Warner raised a total of $19,451,014.

Earley lost the election to the position of Governor of Virginia in 2001. During that election cycle, Earley raised a total of $10,763,525.

Redpath lost the election to the position of Governor of Virginia in 2001. During that election cycle, Redpath raised a total of $15,847.

  • Warner, the winner of the general election, spent the most amount of money per vote. Kaine spent $7.63 more than Earley.


Mark Warner

One of Mark Warner's campaign themes was that while he is the Democratic candidate for governor, he is a "Virginia conservative."[10] Many of the ads run in October were in response to the attack ads of Earley's campaign on Warner's support of tax increases. In these ads Warner clarifies that he will let the constituents vote on funding. In one of his radio ads, Warner says his family has "made their living on the three T's -- tobacco, textiles and timber," and that he will "add a fourth T -- technology."[11]

Mark Earley

Mark Earley's campaign ran ads against Warner noting his support of tax increases. His campaign also ran ads reminding voters of his position against abortion.[12]

Bill Redpath

Redpath's campaign slogan was "Anything that's Peaceful." His themes included many of the common Libertarian focuses of that time such as transportation, education, and crime, but also included ideas about election reform and alternate party voting systems.[13]


Warner's radio and television ads can be downloaded from the NationalJournal.com website.
The Bluegrass Brothers wrote and performed a song for the Warner campaign. It can be listened to via the notlarrysabato website.

See also

External links

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