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In Growing Field of Warner Challengers, Omari Faulkner Wants to Stand Out From the Pack

Gabriella Hoffman
by Gabriella Hoffman Read Profile arrow_right_alt

Could 2020 be the year Republicans finally break their dry spell here in Virginia?

After a disappointing showing in 2018 (what a disaster Corey Stewart was) and a narrow loss in 2014, many voters are hungry for candidates who can actually win. It doesn’t help that the state party hasn’t raked any victories since 2009, when former Governor Bob McDonnell and his ticket won.

In the last decade, Virginia has gone from a purple to blueish state as Democrats continually sweep most federal and statewide contests.

In wake of the extremism being pushed by Virginia Democrats down in our General Assembly, however, could the U.S. Senate race be affected? Or will it fall on deaf ears like the blackface scandals did going into last year’s elections? Time will tell.

Running as a Republican in Virginia—especially in the U.S. Senate race—this year won’t come without its challenges.

Incumbent Mark Warner, who barely survived a stunning 2014 challenge from Ed Gillespie, has risen nearly $11M (as of this writing) and has about $7M on hand. He’s the wealthiest U.S. Senator currently serving and touts so-called moderate credentials.

In November 2018, Warner shed that notion by noting, ironically, he believes in free enterprise “but I don’t believe modern American capitalism is working for enough people.” He recently voted to impeach President Trump and votes reliably with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer about 80%+ of the time.

Recognizing the problems inset in today’s Virginia Republican Party, one candidate for Senate aspires to inject some fresh ideas and new blood into the race. That candidate is political newcomer Omari Faulkner.

Mr. Faulkner is young—37 to be exact— and serves as a Navy reservist. He is an adjunct faculty member at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies and played basketball for them between 2001-2004. His biography highlights several stints at the State Department as a Sports & Cultural Envoy, Financial Management Officer, and Human Resource Officer.

The first-time candidate spoke to The Resurgent about his strategy going into the Republican primary. Here’s what he had to say:

Resurgent: Introduce yourself to our readers. What prompted you to run for U.S. Senate? What was the impetus? 

Omari Faulkner: I never wanted to get into politics, but when I see so many politicians and political activists working to divide our country and pit us against each other and pushing far-left, socialist agendas that infringe upon our individual liberties, it’s time to step up.  That’s why I’m running for U.S. Senate.  We must end this divide and stop the senseless political war games and return to fighting for the people.  In all of the talk of divide and divisiveness, what truly gets lost is the American Dream.

I’m inspired by a much larger vision for Virginia and America, one that I feel we haven’t seen in a very long time. I am so proud of our country, I love our history – even through the darkest of times such as slavery, the Constitution, our democracy, our land of opportunity are still beacons of shining light.

At an early age my great-grandmother showed me the value of the American Dream.  As a black woman born in 1901 in the Deep South, she worked her butt off. She believed in God, her family, and valuing her community.  I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by strong women in my life –  from my great-grandmother, my grandmother, mom, sister, my wife and now my four daughters – who have all instilled in me the importance of family and achieving our own American Dream.

Virginia has not been well-served by its Democratic leaders.  I want to challenge everyone to be better, to help us create a movement and a future that will inspire the generations to come to have strong family values, a reverence for our Constitutional liberties, an appreciation for serving their community, and an understanding that everyone can achieve their OWN American Dream.

How does conservatism play a role in your life? Have you always been conservative? What conservative thought leaders have greatly influenced you?

When I was younger and growing up in Tennessee I was a Democrat. That said, I’ve always held strong conservative and Christian values. Years and in southern parts of the country the Democratic Party still accepted conservative, blue dogs in their ranks. Not anymore. Over time it became clear that the Democratic Party my family in Tennessee had once joined was no more. It has completely abandoned folks in real, rural America. The Democratic Party walked away from me. Becoming a Republican was a natural fit. 

There are eight Republican candidates vying for the nomination right now. The primary is June 9th, 2020. Why are you the best candidate to take on Mark Warner? 

I’m the best candidate not only because I can connect with a community that the Republican Party has struggled with for so long but because I have lived the picture I paint for the future of our country and Commonwealth. We Virginians have suffered under democratic leadership for too long. We need to elect someone that shares our values, that shows the optimistic future we want is attainable and most importantly someone that inspires everyone to be more proactive in their communities. I can bring the Republican message to constituencies who may feel like the party has forgotten them. My story can speak to hundreds of Virginians’ stories. In doing so I can grow our party in Virginia and give Republicans and President Trump the best shot at winning the state and defeating Mark Warner. 

As a political newcomer, how do you plan to increase your name ID and fundraising prowess in a potential match-up against incumbent Mark Warner? Warner is the wealthiest U.S. Senator, has a lot of name I.D., and claims to be a moderate. 

The most important thing I can do is take my message directly to the voters. You can spend millions of dollars on advertising, but people want to know their concerns are being heard. Mark Warner is running for his 3rd term in the U.S. Senate, someone at that level is going to take his voters for granted. It’s up to my campaign to make sure those people realize I will advocate for them, not turn this office into a career to benefit myself.

Senator Warner narrowly won in 2014 by less than 1%—a surprising 0.8%. Virginia has been trending blue for a while and no Republican has served in U.S. Senate from here since 2008. Will the extremism emanating from Virginia Democrats trickle into the U.S. Senate race? Realistically, if the nominee, what’s your strategy to defeat Warner? 

This race isn’t about party, it’s about the people of Virginia and showing them all we have to be optimistic about. We’ve seen the backlash against the radical agenda the Democrats in our state legislature are trying to enact. Tens of thousands of people showed up to protest their attacks on our Second Amendment. Our Democratic Governor wants babies to be born and then allow people to decide to murder an innocent child. Not to mention the slew of scandals that engulfed our Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General. These things are not in line with the majority of Virginians, Republican or Democrat, and those voters will come November. We can be better and we will do better.

What are your top three issues on the campaign trail? What issues are important but being overlooked right now? 

How about five?  All of which are important to our country today and for its future.

Economy: President Trump is doing incredible work on job creation.  Minority employment is at an all-time low.  More women are joining the labor force.  Unfortunately, the Democratic Party is more focused on expanding government to keep people in poverty.  They are more concerned with creating a socialist economy instead of letting people make choices for themselves.  Capitalism is the main driver of lifting people out of poverty and we need to expand economic opportunity across Virginia, across the country.  We need to cut back on regulations to make it easier for businesses owners to do business and promote policies like Opportunity Zones.  I want to make is easier for kids that come from backgrounds like mine to have a pathway to success. 

Homeland and National Security: Keeping our home front secure must always be a top priority. Today, as a business leader within the National Security and Defense arena, I support the growth and development of some of the best in class technology solutions for our federal government.  Our government must work smarter and more efficiently with our dollars in every arena – especially national security.  I also work on strategic workforce development strategies that will prepare our youth for the jobs and careers which will protect national security assets and assure we have the best and equipped military on the planet.  We need to foster a new generation of leaders in the national  security space to protect our future.  We also have to do something about the backlog surrounding security clearance, a national security issue that doesn’t get nearly enough attention but one in which many Virginians know all too well.

Additionally, we cannot talk about security without addressing the issues facing our veterans, military spouses, and transitioning Military Members.  As an active reservist, I know that our service members and their families deserve more, and I’ll see that they get it.  My focus will be on providing high-quality medical care, services to support a seamless transition from active duty to civilian careers, and assurance of zero barriers for our talented military spouses who seek gainful employment.

Immigration: For so long our country has been a beacon of hope to the rest of the world. Immigrants have always been an important pillar in our country and we should welcome them.  That said, our immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed.  That starts with finishing the wall across our southern border, securing ports of entry, and closing immigration loopholes.  America is still the land of opportunity and everyone should be able to partake in the prosperity of our nation, but it must be done the legal way.  We cannot simply handout citizenship to anyone.  We have to know where they are coming from, why they are coming here, and they need to have the proper documentation to validate their claim.

 “If freedom is lost here there is no place to escape to.”- Ronald Reagan

Wasteful Government Spending: As long as our government continues to expand in size, we will continue to see wasteful spending across the board, and it needs to stop.  Whether it be smashing the Budget Control Acts caps, suspending the debt ceiling, allotting trillions to pet projects, or simple refusal to look at government inefficiencies and adjust with times, our representatives have funded programs that do not represent the ideals of and values of Americans for too long. Everyday Americans make tough decisions on how they must budget their money.  Our government should be held to the same standard.  As Americans, we support each other!  Over 60% of Americans give to charity.  I just don’t believe we should rely so heavily on government programs to decide what issues and programs are deserving and which are not. 

Defending Our Liberties: The far-left, led by the cast of characters running for the Democratic presidential nomination and limelight-seeking members of Congress, have taken the quest to infringe upon our rights of free speech, freedom of conscience, and right to bear arms to a new, dangerous level.  I am committed to defending Virginians’ and Americans’ Constitutional, God-given rights in the face of liberal, socialist agenda. Our freedom and individual liberties are what makes America, America.

Credit: Omari for U.S. Senate

How do you plan to appeal to all Virginia voters? As you know, there is no party registration in Virginia and past Republican candidates have struggled to unify Republican voters and get crossover votes here. 

The way to appeal to voters in Virginia is just like any election: Show them what our campaign is all about. We’ve seen nothing but partisan politics, division and a grim future painted for us by our leader and excuses when they fail. Virginians know that’s not the truth, they just need someone to lead the fight and push back against the false idea that we have to focus on areas of disagreement rather than solving the problems we face. Our country has been faced with the toughest challenges and most divisive issues in history. And each time we’ve risen to the challenge, this is no different.

Do you align with much of President Trump’s agenda? Do you think aligning with him would benefit or harm your campaign? 

I think the President is doing a great job and support his re-election 100%. It’s imperative we continue on the trajectory he’s set us on. Our economy is booming, minority unemployment is at all time low, women are joining the workforce at record rates. His foreign policy is keeping us safe. Our military has the tools it needs to defend us adequately. Meanwhile Democrats can’t figure out who won their Iowa caucus, are obsessed with an impeachment circus, and are more divided than ever before. Americans and Virginians deserve better than that.

In order to be competitive in Virginia, candidates must be comfortable campaigning in more blue havens like Northern Virginia, Richmond, and Tidewater. Virginia Republicans must become competitive there again. Are you planning to campaign in these areas? Do you plan to campaign in rural and suburban areas too? 

I plan to campaign in every part of the state and every community. No single voter is more important than any other. Just because an area hasn’t been friendly to the President or Republicans doesn’t mean reaching them with our message is any less important. This campaign is built on the idea that we have a bright future ahead of us, that we expect better of our representatives than what we’ve seen over the past few years. The only way we get there is by convincing voters they can’t sit idly by and rely on someone else. That they need to participate as well.

Why should Virginia voters select you as their nominee?  

I believe Virginians should chose me as their nominee because it’s time to bring a new face and optimistic vision to the Commonwealth of Virginia. For too long we have seen the same names and faces involved in Virginia politics. For too long Virginians have been forced to settle for a state plagued by one scandal after another. Settle for a senator who’s more worried about toeing the party line than taking the fight to career politicians. Settle for lackluster leaders who make excuses when they fall short. It’s time we demand more. It’s time we challenge each other to be better. It’s time for someone who isn’t a career politician, for someone who wasn’t born into a political family, and for someone that was written off as a child because of their economic bracket to represent the people.

Where can readers learn more about your campaign? 

Sign up on OmariForVirginia.com!

To learn more about Omari Faulkner’s candidacy, follow his campaign accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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