It’s a six decades-old Virginia rite of passage for aspiring statewide officeholders to attend the annual Shad Planking political event in Wakefield. While all contenders were not invited to speak at this year's gathering, those who are vying for U.S. Senator Mark Warner's seat were not intimidated by his keynote address—especially his presumptive Republican rival, Ed Gillespie.
Gillespie arrived before Warner, shaking hands, greeting folks, and watching the planked shad cook over an open fire. Gillespie spoke of his fundraising successes and the work ahead. He was grilled about labeling Warner a Washington insider who supports President Obama's most controversial policies, when Gillespie supported President Bush's most controversial policies.
Warner and Gillespie were quite cordial when they crossed paths. During his speech, Warner talked about putting differences aside to end the gridlock in Congress. He rebutted the charge that he carries the banner for the Obama agenda.
Also on hand was Robert Sarvis, the Libertarian former gubernatorial candidate. Sarvis is gathering signatures to get on the U.S. Senate ballot—and he says Warner signed his petition.