Allen to announce ’12 bid to win old Senate seat
Monday, January 24, 2011
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Republican George Allen will announce Monday that he will seek to reclaim the U.S. Senate seat from Virginia that he lost five years ago to Democrat Jim Webb.
A person close to the 58-year-old Allen told The Associated Press that he will make his plans official in a video to be e-mailed Monday afternoon to longtime supporters.
The person was not authorized to pre-empt Allen’s announcement and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Allen, a former governor and congressman who was once considered a potential Republican presidential contender, lost to Webb by about 9,000 votes after a series of gaffes in a year when his party lost control of Congress to Democrats.
During an interview leading up to the 2006 campaign, Allen complained about the Senate’s slow rhythms, likening its pace to that of “a wounded sea slug.”
What was considered an easy re-election bid against Webb, a first-time candidate, began its collapse at a campaign rally in August 2006 after Allen referred to a Webb aide of Indian descent as “macaca.” The term is considered an ethnic slur in some cultures.
The videotaped comment was posted on the Internet, made headlines worldwide and was fodder for television talk shows and comedians for days.
Allen’s misfortunes worsened a few weeks later after he fumbled a question during a debate about his mother’s Jewish ancestry. She grew up in German-occupied Tunisia where her father was a member of the anti-Nazi resistance during World War II.
Webb, a decorated Marine veteran of the Vietnam War who was a Republican when he served as President Ronald Reagan’s navy secretary, surged as public dissatisfaction over the war in Iraq and then-President George W. Bush’s handling of it intensified, hurting Republicans in the 2006 midterm elections.
Since losing the seat, Allen has worked for the American Energy Freedom Center, subsidized by the nation’s energy industry.
Allen — the son of the late George Allen, the Hall of Fame coach of the Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins — led the Virginia GOP’s resurgence beginning with his 1993 election as governor.
By the time the cowboy boot-wearing, tobacco-chewing former college quarterback unseated two-term Democratic Sen. Chuck Robb in 2000, the GOP controlled both houses of the Virginia General Assembly, the offices of governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, both U.S. Senate seats and a majority of Virginia’s 11 U.S. House seats.
On Monday, Allen will join a Republican field with candidates already staking out positions to his right.
Tea party activist Jamie Radtke has already announced her intent to seek the GOP nomination.
Del. Bob Marshall, one of the Virginia legislature’s most conservative members, came close to winning the 2008 GOP Senate nomination and is considering another run next year. Webb has not announced whether he plans to seek reelection and has done little fundraising.