Chris Saxman: A New Face for the VA GOP

By Too Conservative

With the reluctance of Congressman Tom Davis to run for Senate I took another look at Governor Jim Gilmore. I talked to party officials about him, elected republicans, and checked out his policy positions more closely. I also want to commend the Governor’s staff for being incredibly “new media” friendly. They have been very receptive over email. His e-media friendly website can be found here.

At the end of the day I still do not believe Governor Gilmore can be elected to the Senate against Mark Warner. We need a new visionary and a new leader. There’s been great buzz about a looming candidacy of Delegate Chris Saxman(R-Staunton) that I wanted to take the time to look further into. Saxman graduated from Washington and Lee University and is now General Manager of Shenandoah Water. He’s a devout Catholic who is solidly pro-life(something I have yet to hear Gov. Gilmore‘s people state about Jim) but he is not an angry conservative. On issues he is equally, if not more conservative than Gov. Gilmore but he lacks the baggage that Gilmore has left over from his term as Governor.

Saxman is pragmatic. Looking at his past endorsements for statewide candidates it becomes apparent that he wants the party to win.

Conservative bloggers should watch for Saxman‘s ascendency. He is shrewd, likable, and can serve as a much needed new face for the Virginia GOP.

The advance should provide a great opportunity for the party to begin taking his “potential” candidacy seriously.

Readers of TC…please use the comment section to tell me why the party should NOT take a chance on Chris Saxman.


  • Gray says:

    I think you should. Right now, the GOP has the worst possible candidate it can have.

    Saxman has no baggage and that’s key.

  • Fairfax Moderate says:

    Was Saxman a Baril or McDonnell guy?

  • wow says:

    Is that a serious question?

  • t says:

    TC is correct.

    t endorses Saxman.

    He is the right candidate at the right time.

    He pro-life credentials appear to be impeccable.

  • Chris says:

    Can someone running for a House of D’s seat win a statewide race for US Senate?

    One of the reasons why I decided to back Gilmore is, above all else, he’s a fighter. He’ll fight Mark Warner and call him out the way Demcrats have been doing to us for six-seven years. Gilmore is the brawler we need right now to really throw the haymakers at Warner. Too many Republicans are afraid to attack Warner becasue of his approval numbers. George Allen had huge approval numbers and Webb and the Dems fought like demons. Gilmore is that guy.

    Secondly, lets look practically. If Saxman challenges Gilmore, that means this thing goes until June while Mark Warner gets a free six months to raise money, steal normal GOP donors, and go untouched. After all that, say Saxman is the nominee. He then, from a state delegate seat, not only get name recognition – he also has to start going after Mark Warner. Warner will haev had six months to build up a warchest and fundrasining machine that Saxman couldn’t top. His high approval ratings, money, and name recognition will be an impenitrable fortress.

    Or we could start right now, with Jim Gilmore, who’s willing to fight like a madman to win this seat for us. To me the choice is clear. In the search for perfection, we are overlooking the good. Gilmore is a good candidate, and at the end the heart of his weakness is Republicans looking elsewhere. I think debate is healty, but if this stretches out to June we are in deep trouble.

    One last question. Unlike too many other leaders in the party (Cantor, Forbes, Goodlatte, Davis) Gilmore actually WANTS to take on Warner and, like I’ve said, is willing to do everything it takes to win. Why are we looking for people who aren’t interested against someone who is?

  • John says:

    Too Conservative:

    Prove to me this isn’t just a ploy by Tom Davis to pay back Gilmore for knocking him off the planet.

    Also prove to me that Saxman isn’t just vying for a Lt. Gov. Seat. If he’s so selfish as to fight his own party in order to further himself in ANOTHER RACE, he’s detrimental to the party.

    Also tell me how Saxman is more conservative than Gilmore. From what I remember, Saxman was a champion of the Abusive Driver’s fees (nothing more than a tax). Yet, he opposes someone who has always kept his word as a tax cutter. Even ATR calls the Abusive Driver fees a hidden tax.

    If all that Saxman has to offer is his position on Abortion, I’m unimpressed. Gov. Gilmore’s credentials with the Pro-life community are there and you know it. This race is not going to be decided on abortion.

    Sorry Too… I’m unimpressed.

  • William says:

    There’s a trend I’ve found particularly disturbing in Republican politics — and that’s the define “conservative” as sufficiently pure on abortion, without regard to the record on economic issues. Saxman championed the abusive driver fees in Virginia, one of the most unpopular taxes in recent memory. It bothers me that a candidate who is bad on taxes, etc. but scores 100% on the religious litmus test is now considered more conservative than someone who amassed a very strong pro-life record in statewide office while consistently holding the line on taxes throughout his career. Ronald Reagan must be spinning.

  • Not Running says:

    We need more than one New Face in the GOP. We need a lot of them. It’s time we get some people with solid private sector credentials to run for public office, as opposed to career politcal wannabees and retreads.

    The fact that Mark Warner has accomplished more outside of government than in is (with some irony) one reason why he is so popular.

  • William, welcome to my struggle to recapture the word “conservative” from religious zealots.

  • Jordan says:

    I feel Gilmore is the right candidate right. However, Gilmore did call 2 hours before an event that had been planned for 2 months and canceled. Disappointing to say the least, but he is somewhat religious. He attends my church, but only on certain holidays.

  • t says:

    Let’s face it – Gilmore is a dud.

    He is also, at best, a marginal pro-lifer.

    Let’s go with the kid.

  • John says:


    You really think pro-life issues make the conservative? Do you really believe this election is going to be about pro-life issues?


  • John says:

    To be an addendum to my other post….

    Don’t make the same mistake Jerry Kilgore made (death penalty anyone?)…

    You’re picking the #9 issue on people’s minds and running on it. It’s a pity… Will we never learn?

    Immigration, Homeland Security, Transportation, The War in Iraq.

    These are the issues. not abortion.

  • A question for gilmore and co. says:

    A question for Gilmore’s people. You might like to dismiss Saxman’s candidacy as a selfish publicity stunt which will damage the party. How is Gilmore’s effort to move back into a spotlight he left a long time ago not selfish? Gilmore is delusional and so are we if we think he has a prayer. As a party, we’ve got to stop nominating people because we feel like they deserve it, even while looking at every poll taken showing that that person will be destroyed. We are at a crossroads for the party in the Commonwealth. If we continue to put up tired, negative candidates wholly disliked by the public who continue to rehash the same battles of the past, we’re doomed for minority status. Saxman offers fresh ideas, positive vision, and make an attractive, well spoken candidate. Judging from Gilmore’s announcement video, he plans on running a campaign that worked in 1997. Saxman offers a better chance to win the general than gilmore, and if he does lose, he will do far better and will leave the party much better positioned for the future–not with the reputation of being mean spirited and negative.

    Even if gilmore can figuring out a winning message, it won’t matter if people won’t listen. He is the worst possible messenger we could choose.

  • That’s an excellent question. Gilmore reminds me very much of Bob Dole in that instance. “Well, we know he won’t win, but he deserves his shot.” That’s ridiculous reasoning.

    For whatever reason, the Republican Party in Virginia has forgotten entirely about likability as an integral political trait in this entertainment age. It’s what killed the Loudoun County GOP supervisors who lost big, and it will absolutely kill Gilmore. He just isn’t a likable sort of guy. That costs him a huge amount of votes right off the bat.

  • John says:

    Here’s a question: How does Chris Saxman do against Mark Warner in a poll?

    What poll are you referring too? The inherently flawed WaPo poll? please…

    The most recent Rasamussen poll had the race at 16 points, this is with Gilmore unannounced!!!! That’s chicken feed for an unannounced candidate a year out.

    And none of these Chris Saxman people have been able to tell me if this is just some ploy for Saxman to get to the Lt. Gov. seat.

  • D.J. McGuire says:

    Why the party should NOT take a chance on Chris Saxman:

    He supported HB3202.

    Case closed; thanks for coming.

  • Loudoun lady says:

    Edmund and William: Is the vote on the abusive driver’s fees going to become the litmus test for candidates? Should we help kick out Ken Cucinelli? I agree support of the fees is a problem, but the totality of the candidate’s votes should be considered.

    I don’t know much about Saxman and I don’t think Gilmore can win against Mark Warner.

  • Chris says:

    An answer about Saxman:

    This is for me. I don’t think Saxman is being selfish, I’ve actually talked to him over email a little bit. I know he’s thinking hard about this and wants to do it for the right reasons. I just think he has too many more mountains to climb just to get past June–too much time. By then Mark Warner’s castle will be impenitrable.

    I don’t believe that Gilmore is “unlikeable.” He’s never lost an election!

    LI, comparing Gilmore to Loudoun Republicans is ridiculous. As you’ve outlined for the last six months or so, the real reason those guys lost wasn’t likeability–it was that they went back on every election promise they made AND there were serious issues about corruption. Gilmore has done neither in his career.

  • Common Idiot says:

    Whoooaaa there Chris,

    Gilmore has never gone back on a campaign promise?! Two word response to that claim: Car Tax.

  • John says:

    What promise did he break? Car Tax? Do you know your recent history? Was it Gilmore who broke that promise?

    Didn’t think so…

    Nice try

  • The Facts says:

    Wait a minute Common Idiot. Do you have any idea how the car tax repeal played out? Gilmore pushed a phaseout through the General Assembly that reduced the car tax on an annual basis down to zero. That was keeping his promise to eliminate the car tax.

    However, when Mark Warner took office and decided the answer to all our problems was a massive tax increase, he ended the phaseout.

    Say what you will about Gilmore, but he kept his promise. The fact that you still pay any car tax (albeit 70% less), well, you can thank Mark Warner for that.

  • G.Stone says:

    Saxman is a good guy and down the road will be a very good candidate for higher office. Just not now. I think it is very diffecult to take on Warner with a House Delegate and win.

    Our only chance is with someone who will take Warner on and be aggressive.At this juncture that someone is Jim Gilmore. We can run tough and agressive and have a shot at winning or we can run like Jerry Kilgore and lose.

    Sometimes the circumstances dictate what, where , when and how. This is one of those times. We cannot get into a
    primary battle wasting time, energy and MONEY and expect to beat a very well financed popular candidate in Warner.

    I want to see our team beating on Warner not each other.

  • Common Idiot says:

    Facts and Jonathan,

    No, I’m right. Gilmore never had worked out the details on how we could afford the car tax cut. The numbers NEVER worked, and that was a big issue for outgoing Governor Allen. In short, it was a fraud from the get-go, and he left both the GA and Warner to hold the bag. Quite aside from that, the public believes that it is Gilmore who failed to deliver on ending the car tax — and that’s what matters in the end.

    Lest we forget about his other wonderful achievements like the whole thing with Hugh Finn — fighting to keep in a feeding tube his family wanted removed, losing that case as the AG, then, even when ordered by a court, refusing to to pay the family’s attorneys’ fees.

    I know we can do better.

  • A question for gilmore and co. says:

    perception is what matters…and the public perception of gilmore is overwhelmingly negative…something all the attacks in the world on mark warner can’t change.

  • 18…

    If the abusive driver fee is a litmus test, it’s a pretty lame one.

  • B says:

    For those questioning whether a Delegate is ready to run for the US Senate, just look to Obama. From State Senator to US Senator to…. President? Well, let’s hope he remains a US Senator. But it should not matter what office you have held.

    As a Republican, I think competition is a good thing. We already know what we are getting with Gilmore. Probably more of the same. Let’s see what Saxman has to say. He’s done a pretty darn good job in the House of Delegates thus far.

  • John says:


    What’s his record from the House? I don’t know anything about the guy. Does anyone know anything about his record?

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