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Virginia Republicans nominated former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie in a statewide convention Saturday to challenge Sen. Mark Warner (D) in this fall’s election.

Gillespie, now a communications consultant who lives in the Mount Vernon area, was a White House aide during President George W. Bush’s administration and has worked as a political strategist for several senate and presidential campaigns.

He defeated three opponents during the party convention — congressional policy adviser Tony DeTora, former Air Force pilot and business owner Shak Hill and businessman Chuck Moss.

Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins said in a released statement that Gillespie will have strong support from Republicans throughout the state.

“Republicans have emerged from this convention unified, with one purpose — taking back the U.S. Senate, and returning Mark Warner to the private sector,” Mullins said.

Warner, who is running for his second term, is a former governor of Virginia with a professional background in the telecommunications industry. He is also a resident of the Alexandria area.

In his first Senate election in 2008, he received 65 percent of the votes, easily defeating another former governor, Republican Jim Gilmore, and two independent candidates.

With less than five months to go until Election Day, Warner has a significantly larger war chest than Gillespie, having raised $12.7 million so far in this election cycle. Gillespie had raised $2.9 million as of May 18.

kschumitz@fairfaxtimes.com