In the 2006 Virginia Senate race, incumbent Republican George Allen was defeated by Democrat Jim Webb, which was fairly amazing considering the conservatism of Virginia politics (our current governor, as you may recall, announced during his response to Barack Obama’s 2009 State of the Union that we must use “all” of our natural resources).
Allen has announced that he will run for his lost Senate seat in 2012, in a campaign called “American Comeback.” In the announcement, he explained that the federal government was not “listening” to Americans and Virginians, saying people are “frustrated, really frustrated that Washington continues to ignore us.”
This reelection campaign is a gutsy move. Allen’s loss was in large part due to the fact that Allen, who was initially expected to defeat Webb easily, revealed his racism in a shocking and public way when he repeatedly called a 20-year-old Webb employee of Indian descent, “macaca.”
“This fellow here, over here with the yellow shirt, macaca, or whatever his name is. He’s with my opponent. He’s following us around everywhere. And it’s just great,” Allen said. He later claimed that he did not know what the epithet meant.
In the aftermath, several of Allen’s former college football teammates said that he had used the “n”-word. It also emerged that Allen had chosen to wear a confederate pin in his high school yearbook photo – and lest you think he had grown up and realized the error of his ways, he also signed a “Confederate Heritage Month” proclaimation when he was Virginia governor.
Evidence of racism aside, Allen’s policies were also fairly disastrous. And he will have an uphill battle, even among Republicans; he has been labeled as part of the “Washington Establishment” by Jamie Radtke, a tea partier who will run against him. The Democrats have already begun attacking Allen, citing “his years in Washington shilling for corporate interests, wildly spending taxpayer dollars, and racking up our national debt.”
This could be good news for Jim Webb, who has not yet announced whether he will run again in 2012. But it could also be very bad news if Webb doesn’t enter the race; the only other strong Democratic contender, former governor Tim Kaine, has said that he won’t run either. But if Allen starts to run a strong race, it means bad news for both Virginia and the Senate. And obviously, there’s time to see how the campaign will unfold.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons.