The Campaign Spot

Can George Allen Wrench Back His Old Senate Seat?

From this Monday edition of the Morning Jolt:

I had been hearing rumblings in this vein for a while now, but Politico says the official announcement is coming Monday: “Former Sen. George Allen will end weeks of speculation and formally declare his candidacy for U.S. Senate in Virginia on Monday, two Republican advisers tell POLITICO. Allen, who has been making all the moves of a candidate in recent weeks, is expected to blast an e-mail to supporters with a video message before alerting the media.

‘He’s going to file his paperwork, and it’s not exploratory. He’s in. This allows him to start raising money, it allows him to start putting the physical political pieces in place,’ said the operative, speaking on the condition of anonymity. ‘He is the target in the race for both Republicans and Democrats, so what do you gain from sitting on the sidelines?’ But two sources also stressed that Monday would not look like a formal kickoff. Beyond the message to supporters and a press release to the media, Allen will not be doing much publicly. Advisers are billing this as a soft rollout, which will not include a major media blitz, press conference or statewide tour to touch down in every television market. ‘That will come later in the year, perhaps the spring or early summer,’ said the operative.”

Politico notes that we’re hearing from Allen a lot quicker than we’re hearing from the incumbent he hopes to beat, Democrat Jim Webb.

I noted last month, “Virginia is a much redder state than the last time Webb ran. It’s easy to forget, Webb won by only 9,000 votes, about four-tenths of one percent, in a phenomenally good year for Democrats. It’s likely Webb would have fallen short if Allen hadn’t imploded with ‘macaca’ and the Washington Post hadn’t hammered the GOP incumbent every chance it got . . . Webb’s fundraising has been terrible for an incumbent approaching a competitive race. He has $471,080 in cash on hand. Democratic strategists are already complaining about Webb acting like he doesn’t want the job . . . Webb’s 2006 run was fueled by two major factors: vehement opposition to the Iraq War and all-around outrage over George W. Bush. (Recall Webb began his time as senator by speaking about how he wanted to punch Bush at the White House party.) Today the Iraq War is winding down and George W. Bush is now selling his memoirs. Webb may feel like he’s largely done what he wanted to do in the Senate . . . It’s not like this would be the first time Webb surprised everyone by walking away from a high-profile Washington position. His resignation as secretary of the Navy took everyone by surprise; President Reagan wrote in his diary, “I don’t think Navy was sorry to see him go.”

The Scared Monkeys are optimistic about the GOP’s chances: “There will be a much different political climate in 2012 as compared to 2006 when Jim Webb was elected, along with the Democrat take over of the US House and Senate by Democrats. Since the 2006 victory by Democrat Jim Webb, Democrats lost the VA governorship in 2009 as Republican Bob McDonnell won big. The 2010 midterm elections was also a debacle for Democrats in Virginia. The GOP picked up 3 US House seats in VA 02, VA 05 and VA 09. Virginia is a much different place in 2010 than it was in 2006 or 2008 when Obama carried the the Commonwealth 53% to 47% over McCain. This will prove to be an extremely tough hold for Democrats.”


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