From NBC's Ken Strickland and Doug Adams
NBC News confirms an earlier report by the Politico that GOP Sen. John Warner will announce tomorrow whether he intends to run for re-election, at 2:00 pm ET on the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
Warner is believed by politcial leaders in both parties to announce tomorrow that he will NOT run for another term. Warner, 80, has raised just $72,000 since the 2006 elections and only $500 in the first quarter of this year -- not exactly the actions of a man preparing to run in what is shaping up as a bad year for Republicans. And if Warner decides to retire, it is by no means a lock that Republcians would retain the seat. Several well-known candidates from both parties are expected to jump into the race.
Democratic former governor Mark Warner (no relation) is rumored to be strongly considering a bid. Warner decided abruptly last fall not to run for president, and speculation was that he would seek the Senate seat if John Warner stepped down. If he does run, the popular former governor would be a formidable candidate, and would give Democrats great momentum after Jim Webb captured the state's other Senate seat in 2006.
On the Republican side, Rep. Tom Davis, who represents Fairfax County in Northern Virginia, has made no secret of his desire to run. He's been raising money aggressively -- more than $1 million in the bank -- and touring the state to meet with elected officials (and editorial boards).
Former Gov. Jim Gilmore (R), who abandoned his run for the presidency a few weeks ago, is also widely expected to run for the seat. For political insiders, a Gilmore vs. Davis GOP primary would set up a long anticipated fight between the two wings of the party. Davis is a moderate from the Washington suburbs in Northern Virginia, while Gilmore is very popular with conservatives in the rural areas of the state.