RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Democratic Sen. Mark Warner highlighted his business background and the need for more bipartisanship and innovation in federal government as he started his campaign kickoff tour in Richmond Thursday.
The first-term senator and former governor is on what his campaign calls a "working together" tour around Virginia, with 14 events over six days.
In Richmond, Warner spoke at 804RVA, a shared workspace for start-ups and freelancers. He stressed the need for student loan changes so that more young people could pursue careers as entrepreneurs without being burdened with debt.
Warner, a multi-millionaire cellphone pioneer, said he doubted whether he could have continued as an entrepreneur when some of his early start-ups failed if he'd been burdened with an excessive student loan debt.
Warner also pledged to continue taking a bipartisan approach if re-elected.
"We need a lot less dysfunction and a lot more action," said Warner. He noted that former Sen. John Warner, a Republican and no relation, had endorsed his re-election campaign.
Warner's campaign also recently began running ads statewide hitting on similar themes.
The tour and the ad come in advance of a Republican convention next month in Roanoke, where GOP delegates will pick Warner's opponent.
Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie is considered the favorite to win the GOP nomination. Also running are Tony DeTora, a congressional staffer; Shak Hill, an insurance salesman; and Chuck Moss, owner of at a network consulting business.
Though pollsters and pundits predict Warner will easily win re-election, Republicans think he's vulnerable. They've attacked him as him a rubber stamp for President Barack Obama, who is unpopular in some parts of the state.
Warner said Thursday he's not concerned about attacks questioning his political independence.
"Virginians know my record," he said.