Current Position: US Senator since 2009
Affiliation: Democrat
Former Positions: Governor from 2002 – 2006; Venture Capital from 1989 – 2001

Other Positions:
Chair, Senate Intelligence Committee

Featured Quotes:
“Senator Warner is committed to strengthening our national security both at home and abroad, and he believes a strong and engaged United States is fundamental to securing our national interests around the world.”

When he left the Governorship in 2006, Virginia was ranked as the best state for business, the best managed state, and the best state in which to receive a public education.

What is the Cybersecurity Caucus? 1:23 5/10/2021

OnAir Post: Mark Warner – VA


Races have been nationalized
ABC NewsNovember 2, 2021 (06:15)–M_q_VM

ABC News’ Linsey Davis speaks with Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., on the heated Virginia governor’s race and his support for candidate Terry McAuliffe.

Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) issued the following statement after the Senate failed to move forward with the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021  bipartisan legislation to safeguard voting rights:

“The Senate has once again failed to safeguard voting rights, this time by refusing to allow debate on a bipartisan bill to protect access to the ballot. As global history has taught us, it is not enough to simply hold elections – we must see to it that those elections are free and fair. Across the country, the sacred right to vote is under attack by those who find it politically expedient to suppress voter turnout. I urge my Republican colleagues to start working in good faith. The right to vote is integral to democracy and it deserves to be treated as such.” 

Latest News about Senator Mark Warner

Latest news about Senator Mark Warner can be found here on the Senator’s webpage.

Latest Senator Mark Warner press releases can be found here on the Senator’s webpage.

WASHINGTON — Virginia’s senators have asked the Biden administration for more transparency in sharing information about Afghan refugees being temporarily sheltered at some of the commonwealth;s military installations, including Forts Lee and Pickett.

In a letter to the Department of Homeland Security, Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine expressed concerns over what they called “insufficient coordination and communication” between the White House and localities that surround the posts where the refugees are being housed. The senators said they have been gauging sentiment across the state about helping the Afghan nationals transition from war-torn Afghanistan to the U.S., but they have been stymied by the reticence from the federal government about sharing what they can do to help.

“We again urge, to the greatest extent possible, full coordination with local officials and entities who can help manage the logistics and balance resources on behalf of local communities,” they wrote in the letter addressed to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Robert Fenton, a senior response official with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Sen. Mark Warner, the self-described “only so-called Democratic moderate” on the Senate Budget Committee, described how he will work with Budget Chairman Bernie Sanders to craft a spending bill that could be passed by reconciliation along with a bipartisan infrastructure bill.

“I think I’m the only so-called Democratic moderate on the Budget Committee,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Monday. “I’m prepared to work with Senator Sanders and others to start down the path on a budget reconciliation process.”

Warner said he would be happy for the reconciliation package to include tax increases.

Warner emerges as dealmaker
Axios, Jonathan SwanJune 27, 2021

As Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain navigate the legislative minefield of the next few months, they’ll often turn to a moderate Democrat who gets far less ink than Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) or Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).

The big picture: Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) has become a pivotal player in the multi-trillion-dollar negotiations that will shape the Democrats’ electoral prospects, Joe Biden’s presidency and the future of the country.

Behind the scenes: Centrist Democrats and Republicans involved in the negotiations tell Axios that Warner is well-positioned for this dealmaking role.


Mark Warner 6Senator Warner was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2008 and reelected to a third term in November 2020. He serves on the Senate Finance, Banking, Budget, and Rules Committees as well as the Select Committee on Intelligence, where he is the Chairman. During his time in the Senate, Senator Warner has established himself as a bipartisan leader who has worked with Republicans and Democrats alike to cut red tape, increase government performance and accountability, and promote private sector innovation and job creation. Senator Warner has been recognized as a national leader in fighting for our military men and women and veterans, and in working to find bipartisan, balanced solutions to address our country’s debt and deficit.

The first in his family to graduate from college, Mark Warner spent 20 years as a successful technology and business leader in Virginia before entering public office. An early investor in the cellular telephone business, he co-founded the company that became Nextel and invested in hundreds of start-up technology companies that created tens of thousands of jobs.

Senator Warner and his wife Lisa Collis live in Alexandria, Virginia. They have three daughters.


Full Name: Mark R. Warner

Gender:  Male

Family:  Wife: Lisa; 3 Children: Madison, Gillian, Eliza

Birth Date:  12/15/1954

Birth Place:  Indianapolis, IN

Home City: Alexandria, VA

Religion: Presbyterian


JD, Harvard Law School, 1977-1980

BA, George Washington University, 1973-1977


Washington, D.C.
703 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-2023

180 West Main Street
Abingdon, VA 24210
Phone Number: 276-628-8158

101 W. Main Street
Suite 7771
Norfolk, VA 23510
Phone Number: 757-441-3079

919 E. Main Street
Suite 630
Richmond, VA 23219
Phone Number: 804-775-2314

8150 Leesburg Pike
Suite 700
Vienna, Virginia 22182
Phone: 703-442-0670 return to top

120 Luck Avenue SW
Suite 108
Roanoke, VA 24011
Phone Number: 540-857-2676





Email: Government, Campaign

Web Links


Source: none

Election Results

United States Senate election in Virginia, 1996[106]
RepublicanJohn Warner (Incumbent)1,235,74452.48%-28.43%
DemocraticMark Warner1,115,98247.39%
Republican holdSwing
Virginia gubernatorial election, 2001[107]
DemocraticMark Warner984,17752.16%+9.60%
RepublicanMark Earley887,23447.03%-8.79%
LibertarianBill Redpath14,4970.77%
Democratic gain from RepublicanSwing
United States Senate election in Virginia, 2008[108]
DemocraticMark Warner2,369,32765.03%+65.03%
RepublicanJim Gilmore1,228,83033.72%-48.85%
Independent GreensGlenda Parker21,6900.60%
LibertarianBill Redpath20,2690.56%
Democratic gain from RepublicanSwing
United States Senate election in Virginia, 2014[109]
DemocraticMark Warner (Incumbent)1,073,66749.15%-15.88%
RepublicanEd Gillespie1,055,94048.34%+14.62%
LibertarianRobert Sarvis53,1022.43%+1.87%
Democratic holdSwing
United States Senate election in Virginia, 2020[110]
DemocraticMark Warner (Incumbent)2,466,50055.99%+6.84%
RepublicanDaniel Gade1,934,19943.91%-4.43%
Democratic holdSwing


Source: Open Secrets


Senator Warner serves on the following committees and subcommittees:

    • Energy, Natural Resources and Infrastructure
    • International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness
    • Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection
    • National Security and International Trade and Finance (Chairman)
    • Securities, Insurance, and Investment


Senator Warner is a part of the following Congressional Caucuses:

  • Senate Aerospace Caucus, Co-Chair
  • Bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease, Co-Chair
  • Senate Army Caucus
  • Senate Bipartisan Small Brewers Caucus
  • Congressional Coalition on Adoption
  • Senate Competitiveness Caucus
  • Senate CTE Caucus
  • Defense Communities Congressional Caucus
  • Senate Defense Communities Caucus
  • Senate Democratic Hispanic Task Force
  • Congressional Fire Services Caucus
  • Senate Caucus on Foster Youth
  • Senate Friends of Scotland Caucus
  • Senate Marine Corps Caucus
  • Moderate Democrats Working Group
  • Senate Philanthropy Caucus
  • Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus
  • Tennessee Valley Authority Congressional Caucus
  • Senate Travel Caucus
  • Senate Unmanned Aerial Caucus
  • Congressional Wine Caucus
  • Senate Oceans Caucus
  • HBCU Caucus
  • Senate French Caucus
  • Senate Diabetes Caucus
  • Senate Chicken Caucus

New Legislation



Source: Government page

Democracy & Governance

Government Performance & Fiscal Responsibility
Senator Warner has been a leader in Congress in working for improved government efficiency and fiscal accountability. As a member of the Budget Committee, Senator Warner created and chaired the Government Performance Task Force. Senator Warner helped lead the Government Performance and Results Act Modernization in 2010, which among other things required OMB to identify outdated or duplicative reports wasting agency resources and ready for elimination. In his work to eliminate government waste, he also worked on legislation with Senator Paul to reward federal employees who identify and report wasteful end of year spending. He also was the lead Senate architect of the DATA Act, legislation enacted into law in 2014 which makes federal spending information more transparent and accessible. In 2011, Senator Warner co-founded the Senate’s bipartisan Gang of Six, which met for close to a year in an effort to begin solving the nation’s debt and deficit challenges. In Senator Warner’s view, government performance and fiscal responsibility are not Democratic or Republican issues: they represent opportunities to take a data-driven approach to best serve taxpayers.
Government webpage

Economy & Jobs

Jobs & Entrepreneurship
As a successful entrepreneur and former business leader, Senator Warner understands the challenges of launching and running a business and meeting a payroll. As Virginia’s governor and now as a senator, he has worked to expand access to start-up capital and credit for America’s new, existing and small businesses. He has focused on updating our country’s approach to workforce training and technology deployment to expand 21st Century economic opportunity in rural and suburban regions. Senator Warner is a leading voice in Washington for updating the social contract for contingent and freelance workers, many of whom lack insurance and other protections typically provided through full-time employment. He also has called on American business leaders to shift away from their recent preoccupation with short-term profits at the expense of longer-term investments in people and the communities where they operate.
Government Webpage

Consumer Protection
As a key author of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Senator Warner has been a leader in the effort to hold the financial industry accountable and protect consumers from harmful financial practices. As a member of the Senate Banking Committee, he has fought to reform our broken housing finance system, so that taxpayers don’t end up on the hook for another bailout of the large Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, while preserving access to affordable housing. Senator Warner has also led efforts to protect consumers from cyber theft, data breaches, as well as unscrupulous business practices, which often target the most vulnerable populations, including student borrowers and military families.
Government Webpage

Gig Economy
Senator Warner Addresses the Opportunities and Challenges of the ‘Sharing Economy
Senator Warner is committed to exploring the 21st century generational and technological changes and how they’ve led to perhaps the most dramatic transformation in the American economy in decades.  Whether by  economic  necessity  or by choice, as  many as  one-third  of  American  workers now find  themselves working in the “on-demand,” “sharing” or “gig” economy.

Today, online platforms such as Airbnb, Uber, TaskRabbit and Etsy can provide granularity in matching supply and demand for things many people may never have thought about monetizing before: A spare room. A ride in a family car. Free time.

The changing employee-employer dynamic of the “gig economy” poses both opportunities and challenges for the American worker, allowing freedom and flexibility of hours. But many of these on-demand jobs do not provide traditional safety net protections for workers: unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation for injuries, or pension and retirement planning.

Senator Warner is committed to putting forward practical solutions to keep up with this fundamental shift in the economy and to make the on-demand economy work better for more people.
Government webpage




Education & Health Care

Education & Workforce Training
Senator Warner remains committed to ensuring that every Virginian has access to the quality education and training needed to succeed in our global economy without the burden of crippling student debt. Having paid for his own undergraduate education with student loans, Senator Warner knows first-hand the financial challenges facing those who seek higher education. Senator Warner will continue to fight for commonsense solutions to make college more affordable and to help those who are already struggling with student debt. Senator Warner believes that if left unaddressed, student debt will be the next financial crisis facing our country. Senator Warner also knows that college isn’t the only path to success. He believes that we must increase our focus on industry certifications and lifelong learning and retraining in order to create more opportunities for good paying jobs for Virginians.
Education & Workforce Training Webpage

Health Care
Senator Warner is committed to providing access to quality, affordable care for Virginians. Warner has consistently said that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is not perfect, but our previous system was unsustainable and would eventually bankrupt our economy. Senator Warner knows that we cannot go back to a time when insurers denied coverage because of pre-existing health conditions, charged women more than men, or dropped someone’s coverage when they got sick. Instead of repealing the ACA, Democrats and Republicans should work together to improve the law, and he has been at the forefront of providing bipartisan, commonsense solutions to fix the ACA. He will continue to work with his colleagues on targeted improvements to help Virginians secure affordable health care coverage – and fight efforts to take us backwards.
Government webpage

Ensuring that our veterans and their families receive the benefits they have earned and deserve remains one of Senator Warner’s top priorities. Virginia is home to nearly 800,000 veterans—one of the highest per-capita populations in the country—and that number is growing at four times the national average.

Senator Warner is committed to honoring their service and taking active steps to guarantee the federal government honors its promises to our nation’s veterans. He has fought to reduce the disability claim backlog at the Department of Veterans Affairs (V-A), improve access to care and reduce wait times at V-A medical centers, ensure resources for the V-A to provide healthcare for veterans, simplify the benefits and appeals processes, improve mental health services for soldiers returning home, and improve women veterans’ access to healthcare.

Senator Warner is also personally committed to supporting veterans. He prioritizes the employment of veterans, including in his own office in Washington, D.C., and in his Virginia offices.

For Senator Warner, this is not a partisan issue. Taking care of our nation’s veterans is simply a matter of doing what’s right. If you, a family member, or a friend is a veteran, and are in need of assistance, you may contact Sen. Warner’s office here.
Government webpage

Energy & Environment

Senator Warner firmly believes that we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil while investing in new technologies that reduce harmful emissions that contribute to climate change. He favors an “all of the above,” portfolio approach that employs solar, wind, bio-fuels, nuclear energy, next generation battery technologies, and investment in research that focuses on using carbon capture technology so we can continue to use our domestic resources, such as coal, more responsibly. The science surrounding climate change unequivocally supports the need for dramatic changes in policy, and Senator Warner believes any comprehensive legislation to address this issue must be balanced with the need to keep all sectors of our economy viable.

Similarly, the Commonwealth’s 3,300 miles of coastal resources provide significant economic contributions to tourism, recreation, commercial and sport fisheries, and wildlife enjoyment within our state. However, pollution, habitat loss, and other factors have taken their toll. Senator Warner believes that our federal and Bay state partners need to continue to work together to seek appropriate resources to preserve the Bay and he opposes any reductions in funding that threaten to erase progress made to restore the Bay’s oyster population and support local commercial fisheries.
Government webpage

Senator Warner is a leader on infrastructure in the Senate – he believes it’s critical that we revitalize our nation’s infrastructure if we want to compete globally in the 21st century. Investing in our outdated roads, bridges, ports, energy grid and broadband networks creates jobs, reduces traffic, and grows the economy.

That’s why he served as a lead negotiator on the landmark bipartisan infrastructure law, which President Biden signed into law in November 2021. If you work with an organization that might be eligible for funding through this law, please visit this page to learn more about upcoming grant deadlines, or visit this page to see the funding that’s already been secured.

Beyond the infrastructure law, Senator Warner will keep working towards securing additional grants and projects for Virginia, making sure that our roads, bridges, ports, broadband access, airports, school buses, resilience projects, and more get top tier funding for updates and improvements.
Government webpage

Global Affairs

Senator Warner supports a comprehensive approach to immigration reform. He voted in favor of bipartisan, commonsense immigration reform that would strengthen border security, and offer a tough but fair path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants who are already living, working and paying taxes in the United States. He has also introduced proposals that would reform our immigration system to meet the needs of an innovation-driven 21st century economy by making it easier for entrepreneurial and highly skilled immigrants educated at U.S. colleges and universities to stay here and create jobs after graduation.
Government webpage

Public Safety

National Security
Senator Warner is committed to strengthening our national security both at home and abroad, and he believes a strong and engaged United States is fundamental to securing our national interests around the world. As the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Senator Warner is responsible for providing oversight of all U.S. intelligence agencies, and he deeply appreciates the work our intelligence professionals do quietly every day to keep our country safe.

Virginia is also synonymous with defense. It is home to the seat of defense leadership—the Pentagon—to the largest naval station in the world—Naval Station Norfolk—and to our nation’s only aircraft carrier builder. The Commonwealth also has military bases for every military service—Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps and has the largest concentration of active and reserve Coast Guard personnel and the largest defense civilian population in the country. The armed forces of the United States are the strongest and most capable in the history of the world, and Senator Warner represents a state unrivaled in its contribution to the military mission. He is committed to ensuring that our military has the tools and support it needs to defend our country against 21st century threats.
Government webpage

As an early investor in the cellular telephone business, Senator Warner co-founded the company that became Nextel and invested in hundreds of start-up technology companies. Leaning on this background, Senator Warner has used his position in the Senate to promote policies that encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in the cyber domain. Recognizing that no individual body in the United States Senate was uniquely focused on addressing the growing cyber threats faced by consumers, government and private entities, Senator Warner co-founded the bipartisan Senate Cybersecurity Caucus in 2016.

With over 20 billion interconnected devices expected online by 2020, the challenge of securing our home and business networks will be made even more difficult in the years to come. Senator Warner understands that this explosion of devices with expanded capability and connectivity—known as the “Internet of Things”—makes us both more intertwined and more vulnerable. And in the wake of hacks affecting a broad range of private and public entities like the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Target, Anthem, and Yahoo, Senator Warner has been a leader in calling for the protection of consumers’ personal information and timely disclosure of data breaches. He has advocated for resources within the federal government that will put our federal and local governments on a more secure cyber footing. Virginia has the largest cybersecurity workforce in the country and is home to many of the most sophisticated cybersecurity missions in the federal government. Senator Warner has worked to implement policies that will help Virginia and the rest of the country meet the need for a well-trained cyber workforce.

More Information



Mark Robert Warner (born December 15, 1954) is an American businessman and politician serving as the senior United States senator from Virginia, a seat he has held since 2009. A member of the Democratic Party, Warner served as the 69th governor of Virginia from 2002 to 2006. He is vice chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus and chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

In 2006, Warner was widely expected to pursue the Democratic nomination in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, but he announced in October 2006 that he would not run, citing a desire not to disrupt his family life. Warner delivered the keynote address at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, and was considered to be a potential vice presidential candidate until he took himself out of consideration after winning the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate.[1]

Running against his gubernatorial predecessor, Jim Gilmore, Warner won his first election to the Senate in 2008 with 65% of the vote. He was reelected in 2014, narrowly defeating Ed Gillespie,[2] and in 2020 defeating Republican nominee Daniel Gade by twelve percentage points. Warner is the honorary chairman of Forward Together PAC.

Before entering politics, Warner became involved in telecommunications-related venture capital during the 1980s. He founded and led the Columbia Capital firm. He also co-founded Capital Cellular Corporation. With a net worth of $214.1 million, Warner is the third-wealthiest member of Congress and its wealthiest Democrat.[3]

Early life and education

Warner was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, the son of Marjorie (née Johnston) and Robert F. Warner. He has a younger sister, Lisa. He grew up in Illinois, and later in Vernon, Connecticut, where he graduated from Rockville High School,[citation needed] a public secondary school. He has credited his interest in politics to his eighth grade social studies teacher, Jim Tyler, who “inspired him to work for social and political change during the tumultuous year of 1968.”[4] He was class president for three years at Rockville High School[citation needed] and hosted a weekly pick-up basketball game at his house, “a tradition that continues today.”[4]

Warner graduated from George Washington University (GWU), earning his bachelor’s degree in political science in 1977. He was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and graduated as the valedictorian of his class with a 4.0 grade point average. Warner was the first in his family to graduate from college.[4] GWU later initiated him into Omicron Delta Kappa, the National Leadership Honor Society, as an alumni member in 1995. While at GWU, he worked on Capitol Hill to pay for his tuition, riding his bike early mornings to the office of U.S. Senator Abraham Ribicoff.[4] His sophomore year, Warner took time off from school to serve as the youth coordinator on Ella Grasso‘s successful gubernatorial bid in Connecticut.[5] Upon returning to Washington, Warner took a part-time job in the office of then-Representative Chris Dodd. He went on to serve as Dodd’s senatorial campaign manager during his freshman year of law school.[6] When his parents visited him at college, he got two tickets for them to tour the White House; when his father asked him why he didn’t get a ticket for himself, he replied, “I’ll see the White House when I’m president.”[4]

Warner then graduated from Harvard Law School with a Juris Doctor in 1980 and coached the law school’s first intramural women’s basketball team. Warner then took a job raising money for the Democratic Party based in Atlanta from 1980 to 1982.[7] Warner has never practiced law.[4]

Early career

Warner founded two ultimately unsuccessful businesses before becoming a general contractor for cellular businesses and investors. As founder and managing director of Columbia Capital, a venture capital firm, he helped found or was an early investor in a number of technology companies, including Nextel. He co-founded Capital Cellular Corporation, and built up an estimated net worth of more than $215 million.[8][9][3] As of 2023, he is the second wealthiest U.S. senator.[3]

State activism

Warner involved himself in public efforts related to health care, transportation, telecommunications, information technology and education. He managed Douglas Wilder‘s successful 1989 gubernatorial campaign and served as chairman of the state Democratic Party from 1993 to 1995. Warner also served, in the early 1990s, on the Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board and sat in on monthly committee meetings of the Rail and Public Transportation Division (headed by Robert G. Corder).

1996 U.S. Senate election

He unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate in 1996 against incumbent Republican John Warner (no relation) in a “Warner versus Warner” election. Mark Warner performed strongly in the state’s rural areas, making the contest much closer than many pundits expected.[10] He lost to the incumbent, 52%-47%, losing most parts of the state including the north.[11]

Governor of Virginia



Then-Gov. Mark Warner as the state commander in chief of the Virginia Army National Guard and Virginia Air National Guard

In 2001, Warner campaigned for governor as a moderate Democrat after years of slowly building up a power base in rural Virginia, particularly Southwest Virginia. His opponents were Republican Mark Earley, the state’s attorney general, and the Libertarian candidate William B. Redpath. Warner won with 52.16 percent of the votes, 96,943 votes ahead of the next opponent.[12] Warner had a significant funding advantage, spending $20 million compared with Earley’s $10 million.[13]


After he was elected in 2002, Warner drew upon a $900 million “rainy day fund” left by his predecessor, Jim Gilmore.[14] Warner campaigned in favor of two regional sales tax increases, especially in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, to fund transportation. Virginians rejected both regional referendums to raise the sales tax.

In 2004, Warner worked with Democratic and moderate Republican legislators and the business community to reform the tax code, lowering food and some income taxes while increasing the sales and cigarette taxes. His tax package effected a net tax increase of approximately $1.5 billion annually. Warner credited the additional revenues with saving the state’s AAA bond rating, held at the time by only five other states, and allowing the single largest investment in K-12 education in Virginia history. Warner also entered into an agreement with Democrats and moderate Republicans in the Virginia Senate to cap state car tax reimbursements to local governments.

During his tenure as governor, Warner influenced the world of college athletics. “Warner used his power as Virginia’s governor in 2003 to pressure the Atlantic Coast Conference into revoking an invitation it had already extended to Syracuse University. Warner wanted the conference, which already included the University of Virginia, to add Virginia Tech instead — and he got his way.”[15]

Warner speaking in Philadelphia, May 2006

Warner’s popularity may have helped Democrats gain seats in the Virginia House of Delegates in 2003 and again in 2005, reducing the majorities built up by Republicans in the 1990s. Warner chaired the National Governors Association in 2004-2005 and led a national high school reform movement. He chaired the Southern Governors’ Association and was a member of the Democratic Governors Association. In January 2005, a two-year study,[16] the Government Performance Project, in conjunction with Governing magazine and the Pew Charitable Trust graded each state in four management categories: money, people, infrastructure and information. Virginia and Utah received the highest ratings average with both states receiving an A− rating overall, prompting Warner to dub Virginia “the best managed state in the nation.” [citation needed]

Warner with Virginia House of Delegates minority leader Ward Armstrong (left) and then-U.S. Senator Jim Webb (right), November 4, 2007

Kaine and Kilgore both sought to succeed Warner as governor of Virginia. (The Virginia Constitution forbids any governor from serving consecutive terms, so Warner could not have run for a second term in 2005.) On November 8, 2005, Kaine, the former mayor of Richmond, won with 52% of the vote. Kilgore, who had resigned as attorney general in February 2005 to campaign full-time and who had previously served as Virginia secretary of public safety, received 46% of the vote. Russ Potts, a Republican state senator, also ran for governor as an independent, receiving 2% of the vote. Warner had supported and campaigned for Kaine, and many national pundits considered Kaine’s victory to be further evidence of Warner’s political clout in Virginia. [citation needed]

On November 29, 2005, Warner commuted the death sentence of Robin Lovitt to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Lovitt was convicted of murdering Clayton Dicks at an Arlington pool hall in 1999. After his trial in 2001, Lovitt’s lawyers stated that a court clerk illegally destroyed evidence that was used against Lovitt during his trial, but that could have possibly exonerated him upon further DNA testing.[17] Lovitt’s death sentence would have been the 1,000th carried out in the United States since the Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment as permissible under the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution in 1976. In a statement, Warner said, “The actions of an agent of the commonwealth, in a manner contrary to the express direction of the law, comes at the expense of a defendant facing society’s most severe and final sanction.” Warner denied clemency in 11 other death penalty cases that came before him as governor.[18]

Warner also arranged for DNA tests of evidence left from the case of Roger Keith Coleman, who was put to death by the state in 1992. Coleman was convicted in the 1981 rape and stabbing death of his 19-year-old sister-in-law, Wanda McCoy. Coleman drew national attention, even making the cover of Time, by repeatedly claiming innocence and protesting the unfairness of the death penalty. DNA results announced on January 12, 2006, confirmed Coleman’s guilt.[19]

In July 2005, his approval ratings were at 74%[20] and in some polls reached 80%.[21] Warner left office with a 71% approval rating in one poll.[22]

U.S. Senate



Warner accepts the nomination as the Democratic candidate for the Senate

Warner was believed to be preparing to run for the Democratic nomination for president in 2008, and had “done everything but announce his candidacy” before suddenly stating in October 2006 he would not run for president, citing family reasons.[23] Warner declared on September 13, 2007, that he would run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by the retiring John Warner (no relation) in 2008.

Warner delivers the keynote address during the second day of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.

Warner immediately gained the endorsement of most national Democrats. He held a wide lead over his Republican opponent, fellow former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore (and Warner’s predecessor), for virtually the entire campaign.[24] Warner delivered the keynote address at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.[25]

In a Washington Post/ABC News Poll dated September 24, 2008, Warner held a 30-point lead over Gilmore.[26]

In the November election, Warner defeated Gilmore, taking 65 percent of the vote to Gilmore’s 34 percent. Warner carried all but four counties in the state—Rockingham, Augusta, Powhatan and Hanover. In many cases, he ran up huge margins in areas of the state that have traditionally voted Republican.[27] This was the most lopsided margin for a contested Senate race in Virginia since Chuck Robb took 72 percent of the vote in 1988. As a result of Warner’s victory, Virginia had two Democratic U.S. senators for the first time since Harry Byrd, Jr. left the Democrats to become an independent (while still caucusing with the Democrats) in 1970.[citation needed]


In 2014, Warner faced Ed Gillespie, who had previously served as Counselor to the President under George W. Bush and chairman of the Republican National Committee. Warner’s margin of victory—only 17,000 votes—was much narrower than expected.[28]


In 2020, Warner faced college professor and U.S. Army veteran Daniel Gade.[29] During the general election, he defeated Gade, taking 56 percent of the vote to Gade’s 44 percent.[30]


Upon arriving in the U.S. Senate in 2009, Warner was appointed to the Senate’s Banking, Budget, and Commerce committees. Warner was later named to the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2011.[31]

In 2009, Warner voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the stimulus bill. As a member of the Budget Committee, he submitted an amendment designed to help the government track how the stimulus dollars were being spent.[32]

In 2010, Warner, Senator Lamar Alexander, and Representatives Tom Petri and David Price requested that the American Academy of Arts and Sciences form The Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences.[33]

When offered the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in preparation for the 2012 election cycle, Warner declined because he wanted to keep a distance from the partisanship of the role.[34]

In the fall of 2012, Warner was approached by supporters about possibly leaving the Senate to seek a second four-year term as Virginia’s governor. After considering the prospect, Warner announced shortly after the November 2012 elections that he had chosen to remain in the Senate because he was “all in” on finding a bipartisan solution to the country’s fiscal challenges.[35]

President Barack Obama and Tim Kaine listen to Senator Warner, aboard Air Force One, July 13, 2012

Warner became the senior senator on January 3, 2013, when Jim Webb left the Senate and was replaced by Tim Kaine, who was lieutenant governor while Warner was governor.[citation needed]

Warner has been identified as a radical centrist,[36] working to foster compromise in the Senate.[37] Warner was ranked the 10th most bipartisan member of the U.S. Senate during the 114th United States Congress in the Bipartisan Index, created by The Lugar Center and the McCourt School of Public Policy to assess congressional bipartisanship.[38] According to the same methodology, Senator Warner was the second most bipartisan Democrat in the 115th United States Congress.


Warner is pro-choice and supports Roe v. Wade.[39]

Health care

Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) meets with constituents in 2017

On a video in his senate office, Warner promised Virginians, “I would not vote for a health-care plan that doesn’t let you keep health insurance you like.”[40]

He voted for the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly called Obamacare, helping the Senate reach the required sixty votes to prevent it from going to a filibuster. [41] He and 11 Senate freshmen discussed adding an amendment package aimed at addressing health care costs by expanding health IT and wellness prevention.[42]

In January 2019, Warner was one of six Democratic senators to introduce the American Miners Act of 2019, a bill that would amend the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to swap funds in excess of the amounts needed to meet existing obligations under the Abandoned Mine Land fund to the 1974 Pension Plan as part of an effort to prevent its insolvency as a result of coal company bankruptcies and the 2008 financial crisis. It also increased the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund tax and ensured that miners affected by the 2018 coal company bankruptcies would not lose their health care.[43]

In September 2019, amid discussions to prevent a government shutdown, Warner was one of six Democratic senators to sign a letter to congressional leadership advocating for the passage of legislation that would permanently fund health care and pension benefits for retired coal miners as “families in Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming, Alabama, Colorado, North Dakota and New Mexico” would start to receive notifications of health care termination by the end of the following month.[44]


From the start of his Senate term, Warner attempted to replicate in Washington, D.C. the bipartisan partnerships that he used effectively during his tenure as Virginia governor. In 2010, Warner worked with a Republican colleague on the Banking Committee, Bob Corker, to write a key portion of the Dodd-Frank Act that seeks to end taxpayer bailouts of failing Wall Street financial firms by requiring “advance funeral plans” for large financial firms.[45]

In 2013, the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress gave Warner and Corker its Publius Award for their bipartisan work on financial reform legislation.[46]

In 2018, Warner became one of the few Democrats in the Senate supporting a bill that would relax “key banking regulations”. As part of at least 11 other Democrats, Warner argued that the bill would “right-size post-crisis rules imposed on small and regional lenders and help make it easier for them to provide credit”. Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren have stated their opposition to the legislation.[47]

Campaign finance

In June 2019, Warner and Amy Klobuchar introduced the Preventing Adversaries Internationally from Disbursing Advertising Dollars (PAID AD) Act, a bill that would modify U.S. federal campaign finance laws to outlaw the purchasing of ads that name a political candidate and appear on platforms by foreign nationals in the midst of an election year.[48]

Foreign affairs and national security

Saudi Arabia and Yemen
Senator Warner before greeting the new King Salman of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 27, 2015
Senator Mark Warner speaks at the September 2020 Hospitality Roundtable

Warner was the original Democratic sponsor of the Startup Act legislation and has partnered with the bill’s original author, Jerry Moran, to introduce three iterations of the bill: Startup Act in 2011, Startup Act 2.0 in 2012 and Startup Act 3.0 in early 2013. Warner has called the legislation the “logical next step” after enactment of the JOBS Act.[49]

In 2015, Warner criticized the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen, saying: “I’m concerned in particular with some of the indiscriminate bombing in Yemen … [Gulf states] need to step up and they need to step up with more focus than the kind of indiscriminate bombing.”[50]

In June 2017, Warner voted to support Trump’s $350 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia.[51]

Israel and Palestine

In September 2016, in advance of UN Security Council resolution 2334 condemning Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, Warner signed an AIPAC-sponsored letter urging President Obama to veto “one-sided” resolutions against Israel.[52]

In December 2017, Warner criticized Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, saying that it “comes at the wrong time and unnecessarily inflames the region.”[53]

Sanctions: Iran, Russia, and North Korea

In July 2017, Warner voted for the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which grouped together sanctions against Iran, Russia and North Korea.[54]

Central America

In April 2019, Warner was one of 34 senators to sign a letter to Trump encouraging him “to listen to members of your own Administration and reverse a decision that will damage our national security and aggravate conditions inside Central America”, asserting that Trump had “consistently expressed a flawed understanding of U.S. foreign assistance” since becoming president and that he was “personally undermining efforts to promote U.S. national security and economic prosperity” by preventing the use of Fiscal Year 2018 national security funding. The senators argued that foreign assistance to Central American countries created less migration to the U.S., citing the funding’s helping to improve conditions in those countries.[55]

Intelligence and counter-intelligence

In May 2018, Warner voted for Gina Haspel to be the next CIA director.[56]

In 2016, American foreign policy scholar Stefan Halper served as an FBI operative and contacted members of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.[56][57][58] In May 2018, Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, warned Republican lawmakers that it would be “potentially illegal” to reveal Halper’s identity.[59]

Warner welcomed the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who exposed American war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying that Assange is “a dedicated accomplice in efforts to undermine American security.”[60]

On May 13, 2020, Warner and Joe Manchin were the two Democratic senators to vote against the Lee-Leahy FISA amendment, which strengthened oversight of counterintelligence.[61]

Telecommunications and infrastructure security

In December 2018, Warner called Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei a threat to U.S. national security.[62]

In February 2019, Warner was one of 11 senators to sign a letter to Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen urging them “to work with all federal, state and local regulators, as well as the hundreds of independent power producers and electricity distributors nation-wide to ensure our systems are protected” and affirming that they were “ready and willing to provide any assistance you need to secure our critical electricity infrastructure.”[63]

In July 2019, Warner was a cosponsor of the Defending America’s 5G Future Act, a bill that would prevent Huawei from being removed from the Commerce Department’s “entity list” without an act of Congress and authorize Congress to block administration waivers for U.S. companies to do business with Huawei. The bill would also codify Trump’s executive order from the previous May that empowered his administration to block foreign tech companies deemed a national security threat from conducting business in the U.S.[64]

In March 2023, Warner and John Thune led a bipartisan group of 12 senators to introduce the Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology (RESTRICT) Act, legislation to comprehensively address the ongoing threat posed by technology from foreign adversaries by better empowering the Department of Commerce to review, prevent, and mitigate information communications and technology transactions that pose undue risk to our national security by giving the federal government more control over them. A provision in the legislation could also impose a prison sentence of up to 20 years and a $1 million fine for accessing “banned apps” with a Virtual Private Network (VPN).[65] Warner’s dedication to the telecommunications industry was recognized in 2013 as he was inducted into the Wireless Hall of Fame.[66]


Mark Warner’s freshman portrait

In 2011, Warner voted for the four-year extension of the USA PATRIOT Act. Also in 2011, he engaged Northern Virginia’s high-tech community in a pro bono effort to correct burial mistakes and other U.S. Army management deficiencies at Arlington National Cemetery.[67] In 2012, he successfully pushed the Navy to improve the substandard military housing in Hampton Roads.[68]

Also in 2012, Warner pushed the Office of Personnel Management to address chronic backlogs in processing retirement benefits for federal workers, many of whom live in Washington’s northern Virginia suburbs.[69] He succeeded in pushing the Department of Veterans Affairs to expand access to PTSD treatment for female military veterans returning from service in Iraq and Afghanistan.[70]

In August 2013, Warner was one of 23 Democratic senators to sign a letter to the Defense Department warning that some payday lenders offer “predatory loan products to service members at exorbitant triple digit effective interest rates and loan products that do not include the additional protections envisioned by the law” and asserting that service members and their families “deserve the strongest possible protections and swift action to ensure that all forms of credit offered to members of our armed forces are safe and sound.”[71]

U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus awarded Warner the Distinguished Public Service Medal, the Navy’s highest honor for a civilian, for his consistent support of Virginia’s military families and veterans.[72]


Between 2010 and 2013, Warner invested considerable time and effort in leading the Senate’s Gang of Six, along with Saxby Chambliss.[73] Chambliss and Warner sought to craft a bipartisan plan along the lines of the Simpson-Bowles Commission to address U.S. deficits and debt.[74]

Although the Gang of Six ultimately failed to produce a legislative “grand bargain”, they did agree on the broad outlines of a plan that included spending cuts, tax reforms that produced more revenue, and reforms to entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security—entitlement reforms that are opposed by most Democrats.[75] Although President Obama showed interest in the plan, leaders in Congress from both parties kept a deal from being made.[76] In 2011, the bipartisan Concord Coalition awarded Warner and Chambliss its Economic Patriots Award for their work with the Gang of Six.[77]

Gun laws

On April 17, 2013, Warner voted to expand background checks for gun purchases as part of the Manchin-Toomey Amendment.[78][79] He also voted against the 2013 Assault Weapons Ban, but changed his position in a 2018 op-ed and has co-sponsored similar efforts since then.[80][81][82]

In 2017, Warner called himself a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights and vowed to advocate for responsible gun ownership for hunting, recreation, and self-defense.[83]

In January 2019, Warner was one of 40 senators to introduce the Background Check Expansion Act, a bill that would require background checks for either the sale or transfer of all firearms including all unlicensed sellers. Exceptions to the bill’s background check requirement included transfers between members of law enforcement, loans for hunting or sporting events on a temporary basis, gifts to members of one’s immediate family, transfers as part of an inheritance, and giving a firearm to another person temporarily for immediate self-defense.[84]

LGBT issues

Warner supports same-sex marriage, announcing his support in a statement on his Facebook page in March 2013. His announcement came shortly after Senator Claire McCaskill announced her support for it.[85] In July 2015, Warner and Tim Kaine cosponsored the Equality Act along with 38 other senators and 158 members of the House of Representatives, with Kaine saying, “it’s critical that we prohibit discrimination in housing, education and the workplace.”[86]


On the Senate Budget Committee, Warner was appointed chair of a bipartisan task force on government performance in 2009.[87] He was a lead sponsor of the 2010 Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), which imposed specific program performance goals across all federal agencies and set up a more transparent agency performance review process.[88]

On May 21, 2013, Warner introduced the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA). “The legislation requires standardized reporting of federal spending to be posted to a single website, allowing citizens to track spending in their communities and agencies to more easily identify improper payments, waste and fraud.”[89][90] On November 6, 2013, the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee unanimously passed DATA.[91]

On January 27, 2014, the White House Office of Management and Budget‘s (OMB) marked-up version of the bill was leaked. This version “move[s] away from standards and toward open data structures to publish information” and “requir[es] OMB in consultation with Treasury to review and, if necessary, revise standards to ensure accuracy and consistency through methods such as establishing linkages between data in agency financial systems”.[92] Warner responded: “The Obama administration talks a lot about transparency, but these comments reflect a clear attempt to gut the DATA Act. DATA reflects years of bipartisan, bicameral work, and to propose substantial, unproductive changes this late in the game is unacceptable. We look forward to passing the DATA Act, which had near universal support in its House passage and passed unanimously out of its Senate committee. I will not back down from a bill that holds the government accountable and provides taxpayers the transparency they deserve.”[93][94]

On April 10, 2014, the Senate voted by unanimous consent to pass the bill, which was then passed by the House in a voice vote on April 28, 2014.[95]

Minimum wage

In April 2014, the Senate debated the Minimum Wage Fairness Act (S. 1737; 113th Congress). The bill would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) to increase the federal minimum wage for employees to $10.10 per hour over two years.[96] The bill was strongly supported by President Obama and many Democratic senators, but strongly opposed by congressional Republicans.[97][98][99] Warner expressed a willingness to negotiate with Republicans about some of the provisions of the bill, such as the timeline for the phase-in.[98] He said that any increase needs to be done “in a responsible way.”[100]


In October 2014, Warner was implicated in a federal investigation of the 2014 resignation of Virginia State Senator Phillip Puckett, a Democrat. He was alleged to have “discussed the possibility of several jobs, including a federal judgeship, for the senator’s daughter in an effort to dissuade him from quitting the evenly divided state Senate.”[101] A Warner spokesman acknowledged that the conversation occurred, but said Warner made no “explicit” job offer[102] and that he and Puckett were simply “brainstorming”.[103]

In January 2015, the Republican Party of Virginia filed a formal complaint against Warner with the United States Senate Select Committee on Ethics, alleging that Warner’s interactions with Puckett violated the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act.[104]

Campaign contributions

From 2008 to 2014, some of Warner’s top ten campaign contributors were JP Morgan Chase, the Blackstone Group, and Columbia Capital.[105] BlackRock had never contributed until Warner bought shares in the BlackRock Equity Dividend Fund in 2011.[105]

Committee assignments

Electoral history

United States Senate election in Virginia, 1996[106]
RepublicanJohn Warner (Incumbent) 1,235,744 52.48% -28.43%
DemocraticMark Warner1,115,98247.39%
Republican holdSwing
Virginia gubernatorial election, 2001[107]
DemocraticMark Warner 984,177 52.16% +9.60%
RepublicanMark Earley887,23447.03%-8.79%
LibertarianBill Redpath14,4970.77%
Democratic gain from RepublicanSwing
United States Senate election in Virginia, 2008[108]
DemocraticMark Warner 2,369,327 65.03% +65.03%
RepublicanJim Gilmore1,228,83033.72%-48.85%
Independent GreensGlenda Parker21,6900.60%
LibertarianBill Redpath20,2690.56%
Democratic gain from RepublicanSwing
United States Senate election in Virginia, 2014[109]
DemocraticMark Warner (Incumbent) 1,073,667 49.15% -15.88%
RepublicanEd Gillespie1,055,94048.34%+14.62%
LibertarianRobert Sarvis53,1022.43%+1.87%
Democratic holdSwing
United States Senate election in Virginia, 2020[110]
DemocraticMark Warner (Incumbent) 2,466,500 55.99% +6.84%
RepublicanDaniel Gade1,934,19943.91%-4.43%
Democratic holdSwing

Personal life

Warner is married to Lisa Collis.[4][failed verification] While on their honeymoon in 1989 in Egypt and Greece, Warner became ill; when he returned home, doctors discovered he had suffered a near-fatal burst appendix. Warner spent two months in the hospital recovering from the illness.[4] During her husband’s tenure as governor, Collis was the first Virginia first lady to use her birth name. Warner and Collis have three daughters.

Warner is involved in farming and winemaking at his Rappahannock Bend farm. There, he grows 15 acres (61,000 m2) of grapes for Ingleside Vineyards; Ingleside bottles a private label that Warner offers at charity auctions.[111]

Warner has an estimated net worth of $215 million as of 2018.[3]

He is not related to John Warner, his predecessor in the Senate.

Honorary degrees

Mark Warner has been awarded several honorary degrees, these include:

Honorary degrees
 Virginia2002College of William and MaryDoctor of Laws (LL.D) [112]
 District of Columbia2003George Washington UniversityDoctor of Public Service (DPS) [113]
 North CarolinaMay 15, 2006Wake Forest UniversityDoctor of Laws (LL.D)[114]
 Virginia2007Lord Fairfax Community CollegeAssociate of Humane Letters
 VirginiaMay 20, 2007Eastern Virginia Medical SchoolDoctorate[115]
 VirginiaMay 25, 2013George Mason UniversityDoctorate[116]
 VirginiaMay 19, 2018Virginia State UniversityDoctorate[117]

See also


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Further reading

Archival records

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by

Chair of the Virginia Democratic Party
Succeeded by


Title last held by

Edythe Harrison

Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Virginia
(Class 2)


Title next held by


Preceded by

Democratic nominee for Governor of Virginia
Succeeded by

Preceded by

Keynote Speaker of the Democratic National Convention
Succeeded by


Title last held by


Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Virginia
(Class 2)

2008, 2014, 2020
Most recent
Preceded by

Vice Chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus
Served alongside: Elizabeth Warren
Political offices
Preceded by

Governor of Virginia
Succeeded by

Tim Kaine
Preceded by

Chair of the National Governors Association
Succeeded by

U.S. Senate
Preceded by

U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Virginia
Served alongside: Jim Webb, Tim Kaine
Preceded by

Vice Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee
Succeeded by

Preceded by

Marco Rubio
Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by

Order of precedence of the United States
as United States Senator
Succeeded by

United States senators by seniority
Succeeded by