Allen will be up for re-election next year, and Warner has been mentioned as his likely opponent. But Warner associates are urging him to forgo a Senate race that he might not win and begin running for the Democratic presidential nomination as soon as he leaves office in January 2006. A Senate race against Allen would take up too much time, these associates say.

“If Warner wants to run for president, he should run for president. If he wants to run for the Senate, he should run for the Senate. He shouldn’t try to do both,” said political consultant Steve Jarding, who managed Warner’s gubernatorial campaign in 2001 and worked for Sens. John Edwards of North Carolina and Bob Graham of Florida when they sought the Democratic presidential nomination early last year.

And will Warner run on his education record?