Warner (D) Fundraising Off of Russia Fears

'Don't let the Russians decide the 2020 election!'

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations on June 17, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
August 14, 2019

Sen. Mark Warner (D., Va.) sent out a fundraising letter using fears about Russia to spur donations.

The heading of Warner's letter reads "Don't let the Russians decide the 2020 election!" according to a tweet by Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at the Federalist.

The extent to which Russian interference in the 2016 election swayed the result is subject to debate.

Alan Abramowitz, a political science professor at Emory University, said he found "no evidence that Russian attempts to target voters in key swing states had any effect on the election results in those states."

"Instead, the results were almost totally predictable based on the political and demographic characteristics of those states, especially their past voting tendencies, ideological leanings, and demographics," Abramowitz wrote. "Of course, that doesn't mean that the Russians weren't trying to influence the results or that they might not succeed in the future. Nor does it speak to Russian efforts to hack into U.S. voting systems and potentially alter voter registration data or even election results themselves."

FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver was less conclusive about the effect of Russian interference.

"Overall, then, my view on the effects of Russian interference is fairly agnostic," Silver wrote. "I tend to focus more on factors — such as Clinton's email scandal or the Comey letter (and the media's handling of those stories) — that had easier-to-prove effects. The hacked emails from the Clinton campaign and the DNC (which may or may not have had anything to do with the Russians) potentially also were more influential than the Russian efforts detailed in Friday's indictments. Clinton's Electoral College strategy didn’t have as much of an effect as some people assume — but it was pretty stupid all the same and is certainly worth mentioning."

Warner last ran for reelection in 2014, narrowly defeating Republican challenger Ed Gillespie by less than 20,000 votes. The Cook Political Report currently rates his seat as solidly Democratic heading into the 2020 campaign.