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GOP picks ex-aide to challenge Warner

| Saturday, June 7, 2014, 6:51 p.m.
Republican senatorial candidate Ed Gillespie has been a key player in the party for decades, including as a top aide to Rep. Dick Armey during the crafting of the GOP’s “Contract with America” in 1994.

ROANOAKE, Va. — Former presidential adviser and lobbyist Ed Gillespie won the Republican nomination at the state party convention on Saturday and will face Democratic Sen. Mark Warner in the general election in November.

Gillespie won the nod at the Virginia Republican Convention in Roanoke to challenge Warner, a former governor and early favorite in the race. Gillespie is the former Republican National Committee chairman and a former adviser to President George W. Bush and Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign. A onetime aide on Capitol Hill, Gillespie has made millions as a corporate lobbyist.

Gillespie beat out three rivals for the nomination: insurance salesman and former Air Force pilot Shak Hill; congressional staffer Tony DeTora; and Chuck Moss, owner of a network consulting business.

In a speech to thousands of GOP delegates before the convention vote in which he was the favorite, Gillespie promised to fight for lower taxes, fewer restrictions on energy production and to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Republicans are waging a fight against supporters of Democratic President Obama to gain the six Senate seats required to secure control of that chamber. Warner however, is an early favorite.

A race between Gillespie and Warner pits two multimillionaires from northern Virginia who both worked as political operatives early in their careers.

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