Republican Ed Gillespie quietly announced on Thursday that he’ll run for Senate in Virginia this year.
The former adviser to President George W. Bush and former chairman of the Republican National Committee will seek to challenge Sen. Mark Warner, a moderate Democrat, who currently holds the seat.
In June, Gillespie will pursue his party’s nomination, but it’s not expected to pose a challenge for the longtime Republican and former head of the Virginia GOP.
Winning against an incumbent who was expected to easily win reelection until Gillespie came along will be the bigger challenge: a majority of voters approve of the job Warner’s doing now according to two polls and he was a popular state governor.
Gillespie’s plan of attack appears to be turning the election into another referendum on Obamacare—a similar strategy to the one Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuchinelli tried in the last weeks of his campaign, to no avail.
His platform “includes replacing Obamacare, which kills jobs and costs families the insurance and doctors they like. Sen. Mark Warner cast the deciding vote for it; if I were a Virginia senator, it would not be law today,” Gillespie says in a web video released to announce his run.
The announcement came with little fanfare; a website, video, and news launch marked the move.
“Hi, I’m Ed Gillespie and this is my wife, Kathy and our family,” he begins, before introducing voters to the story of his immigrant family and promoting his middle-class roots.
Those roots appear to foster another prong of his offensive: appealing to those frustrated with sluggish economic growth.
The introductory ad also pointedly touches on income inequality, with Gillespie promising to lead with policies that “enable people to help life themselves out of poverty.”
Republicans—most notably Sen. Marco Rubio—have recently begun addressing income inequality and hoping to draw it into their platform.