Republican George Allen is expected to make his Senate plans official in a video to be e-mailed Monday to longtime supporters.
By ANDREW CAIN, WESLEY P. HESTER
Published: January 24, 2011
Former Sen. George Allen will announce today that he is seeking to reclaim the Senate seat he lost to Democrat Jim Webb in 2006.
Allen, a Republican, will e-mail a video to supporters in a "soft announcement" that will be followed by a more formal rollout at a later date, said a national Republican consultant who is familiar with Allen's plans. The video is a way to "get out there and start the conversation," the consultant said.
State Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan, was not surprised by the news.
"I talked to George last week, and he told me he would be announcing soon," he said.
Allen has been coy in public about his intentions. His website on Sunday showed only two words, "Stay Tuned," the same message he has given reporters in public appearances in recent days.
But Allen, who served as Virginia's governor from 1994 to 1998 and in the U.S. Senate from 2001 to 2007, has maintained a public schedule around the state that left political observers with little doubt that he would seek a rematch.
Tea-party activist Jamie Radtke has already announced her intent to seek the 2012 GOP nomination. Others considering a bid for the Republican nomination are Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William (this is that cray-cray dude, BTW); Corey A. Stewart, chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors; and Bert Mizusawa, who last year sought the Republican nomination for the 2nd District House seat won by Scott Rigell.
On tour with Americans for Prosperity last week, Allen stopped by a Glen Allen eatery to voice support for U.S. House Republicans' effort to repeal President Barack Obama's health-care overhaul.
Asked about recent criticism from Radtke on his votes for budgets that increased federal spending, Allen defended his record.
"I don't know what she has said," he said. "I know my record, and it's one of a conservative in Congress."
He also declined to respond directly to Radtke's invitation to participate with her in a series of town-hall meetings ahead of a primary.
In 2008, Marshall nearly defeated former Gov. Jim Gilmore for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination. Gilmore lost the general election to Democrat Mark R. Warner in a landslide.
Webb has said that he will announce sometime in the year's first quarter whether he will seek a second term.
Allen was once touted as a likely candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. But he lost his 2006 re-election bid to Webb by about 9,000 votes, in part because of the "macaca" incident.
In August 2006, at a campaign rally in Breaks, in Southwest Virginia, Allen referred to a Webb aide of Indian descent as "macaca." Some cultures view the term as an ethnic slur. The Webb aide videotaped the comment, which was posted on the Internet, and made headlines worldwide.
Since losing the seat, Allen has worked for the American Energy Freedom Center, an industry-backed group that decries what it considers excessive regulation.