- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 28, 2010

If former Sen. George Allen tries to reclaim his Senate seat in Virginia, it would pit him against the man who defeated him, Sen. Jim Webb, in the marquee Senate matchup of 2012 — if Mr. Allen can win his own party’s nomination.

The former congressman, governor and senator said he’s talking the decision over with his family and will announce “soon” whether he’ll run, though he said he’s receiving strong encouragement from Republicans across the state.

“The point of all of this is that folks are saying get back in the game, and that’s what folks are encouraging me and Susan to do, and the campaign that we would mount in the event that we mounted a campaign would be a good, grass-roots insurgency,” he told The Washington Times. “You learn a lot from losing. I don’t like losing, but you learn a lot.”

Still, other Virginia Republicans say he’ll first have to get past a divided primary electorate that some in the GOP say has moved beyond Mr. Allen’s glory years as governor in the 1990s.

George Allen is part of the problem, not the solution. He is the Brett Favre of politics,” said Corey Stewart, the Republican chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors and a possible Senate candidate himself, who called for “some new blood and new leadership.”

Former Sen. George Allen, Virginia Republican (The Washington Times)
Former Sen. George Allen, Virginia Republican (The Washington Times) more >

For his part, Mr. Allen has already taken shots at Mr. Webb, including the Democrat’s vote in favor of a bill to allow first responders to unionize, which would contravene Virginia’s right-to-work laws, and his vote earlier this month in favor of ending the filibuster on a bill to legalize hundreds of thousands of illegal-immigrant children and young adults.

For nearly 15 years, Mr. Allen was the heavyweight of Virginia politics, having won the governor’s mansion in 1993, then unseated two-term incumbent Sen. Charles S. Robb in 2000. He was even thought to be considering a run for president in 2008.

But in a major clash that helped determine control of the Senate in 2006, Mr. Allen lost his own re-election bid to Mr. Webb, a highly decorated Vietnam veteran who, while a newcomer to electoral politics, erased a 30-percentage-point deficit in the polls to beat Mr. Allen.

Mr. Webb is also considering his next step, a spokesman said.

Sen. Webb is looking to address his intentions regarding the 2012 election cycle in the first quarter of next year after discussing it with his family over the holidays,” said spokesman Will Jenkins.

In his four years in office, Mr. Webb has generally voted with Democrats, including on this month’s repeal of the military’s ban on openly gay troops and on the immigration vote. Still, he has broken ranks recently on several spending matters.

Mr. Jenkins said that throughout his tenure, his boss has a track record that shows he has remained committed to the principles of economic fairness and good governance that helped propel him into office.

In 2008, he ushered through a landmark GI Bill that increased education benefits to veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. After the legislative victory, the Atlantic dubbed him “Master of the Senate.”

But Mr. Allen said Mr. Webb has voted against Virginia’s interests when he sided with Democrats on union issues, President Obama’s health care overhaul and economic votes.

“In looking at the Senate race, every vote counts in Washington. So many of these — stimulus, bailouts, the health care monstrosity — things that I think are harmful to Virginians, have passed by one vote,” he said.

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