Mark Warner Courts Virginia Tech Football Fans

Image: William & Mary v Virginia Tech
BLACKSBURG, VA - AUGUST 30: Full back Sam Rogers #45 of the Virginia Tech Hokies carries an American flag and leads the team out of the tunnel before the game against the William & Mary Tribe at Lane Stadium on August 30, 2014 in Blacksburg, Virginia. Virginia Tech defeated William & Mary 34-9. (Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)Michael Shroyer / Getty Images

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Democratic Sen. Mark Warner is hoping Virginia Tech football can give his re-election bid a boost.

The former Virginia governor and first-term senator released a new ad with Virginia Tech standout and NFL Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith touting Warner’s work getting the Hokies into the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2003. The ad will air during Saturday's game against Ohio State.

School officials say moving into one of the NCAA’s major conferences has greatly improved the university’s athletics, academics and finances.

Warner enjoys a comfortable lead over GOP rival Ed Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee chair and aide to President George W. Bush.

-- Andrew Rafferty