By Laura Barron-Lopez - 07/26/14 12:01 PM EDT
Former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie sought to tie Sen. Mark WarnerMark WarnerDem senator's daughter could face Congress over EpiPen price hike Judge rejects settlement in major Uber driver status case Fidelity denies lobbying for student loan tax break MORE (D-Va.) to all Obama administration policies during the first debate between the two Virginia Senate candidates.
"Because of Obama and Warner's job-killing policies more businesses are closing than opening," Gillespie said at Saturday's debate, which is being held in West Virginia rather than the state the two candidates are seeking to represent.
Warner shot back that he has been a moderate, and champion of bipartisanship in the Senate. He slammed Gillespie for making claims that the Republican would be a "partisan warrior," something Warner said Washington doesn't need right now.
"He has spent his entire career as a D.C. lobbyist," Warner said. "The last thing Washington needs is another partisan warrior."
A number of vulnerable Democrats have worked to distance themselves from Obama, whose approval ratings sit at roughly 41 percent.
Gillespie laid it on Saturday, bringing up as much of Warner's vote history in the Senate as possible, where the incumbent senator voted down the party line.
Warner defended his record, sticking by his vote to back Obama's signature healthcare law, and support of reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank.
"I'm proud of my record," Warner said.
A recent Roanoke College poll put Warner up 25 points over Gillespie, and Warner recently widened his financial lead pulling in $2.7 million in June compared to Gillespie's $1.9 million.