BUENA VISTA, Va. -

They've been running for months, but Monday morning the candidates in Virginia's U.S. Senate race kicked off the fall campaign in Buena Vista.

Democrat Mark Warner, Republican Ed Gillespie and Libertarian Robert Sarvis met voters during the annual Labor Day Parade, and rallied supporters during the speeches that followed.

From bagpipes to bluegrass, Buena Vista's annual Labor Day Parade is long on tradition.

And the politicians have been coming here since the first celebration 44 years ago.

Mark Warner made it an athletic contest, jogging up Magnolia Avenue, when he wasn't stopping for a handshake or a hug.

Ed Gillespie had a cheering section as he extended his hand to potential voters.

And Robert Sarvis offered a quick greeting and a campaign card to the crowd lining the street.

Once out of the sun and under cover at Glen Maury Park, the candidates served up their stump speeches, with Warner stressing his bipartisan approach.

"Whether it's my work on the debt and deficit, work on veterans, work on student loans, student debt, work on making sure we bring jobs back to rural america," Warner told reporters, I think I've got a record I'm proud of and willing to build on."

Gillespie said the state needs a change.

"Mark Warner's policies are squeezing Virginians between lost jobs, stagnant wages and higher prices for health care, energy and food," Gillespie said in an interview, "and I have policies that would ease the squeeze on hard working Virginians."

And Sarvis asked voters to consider an alternative to the two-party system.

"We need more freedom. We need a government that's governing in the public interest," Sarvis told WDBJ7.  "We're not getting that from Washington, either of the parties. They're both growing government, so it's time to vote outside the two-party system."

The candidates now have just over two months until election day.

Warner still has business to attend to in the Senate, but the race is on with three candidates in a sprint to the finish November 4th.

PHOTOS: Buena Vista Labor Day Parade

POSTED: 06:52 PM EDT Sep 01, 2014 

The Buena Vista Labor Day Parade is the traditional start of the fall campaign season in Virginia. Monday morning, the three candidates for U.S. Senate met voters during the annual event.

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