- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 9, 2000

RICHMOND It was a day spent receiving congratulations from every corner for Sen.-elect George F. Allen, who toppled Democratic incumbent Sen. Charles S. Robb in Tuesday's election.
Out in front of the state Capitol yesterday, Mr. Allen was the target of several well-wishers who happened upon him giving television interviews.
One man, Robert "Bubbah" Rakes, told Mr. Allen he knew he was going to vote for him once he saw Mr. Allen wore cowboy boots. Mr. Rakes a carpenter working on the Capitol grounds quickly amended that, saying he'd supported Mr. Allen all along.
Then Mr. Rakes dialed his wife on his cell phone and handed it to Mr. Allen, asking him to talk to her.
"Can you imagine Chuck Robb doing this?" an Allen aide asked, as Mr. Allen gabbed with the woman about her husband's brand of cigarettes they weren't made in Virginia, to Mr. Allen's disappointment.
Democrats and Republicans alike said yesterday that such ease in conversations and that ability to connect with voters was a large part of Mr. Allen's success in the Senate race.
At a news conference yesterday, Mr. Allen talked about how he defeated Mr. Robb and where a new senator goes from here.
For starters, he said, it means another vote to end the marriage penalty tax, another vote to repeal the estate tax, another vote for a constitutional amendment to prohibit desecration of the American flag, and a vote against any tax increases that may come before him.
"I don't care how many people are for raising taxes on enterprises or families or individuals I'm not going to vote for any tax increases," Mr. Allen said.
He repeated his pledge that the first bill he'll introduce will be his $1,000-per-child tax credit to help pay for education supplies, and he said he hopes to be assigned to the Commerce Committee and the Appropriations Committee. If given the Appropriations Committee assignment, he said, he would like to join the defense subcommittee so he could team up with Virginia's other Republican senator, John W. Warner, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, to give Virginia a one-two punch.
During the campaign Mr. Robb had questioned whether Mr. Allen had the ability to work across party lines and within the legislative process.
Yesterday, Mr. Allen said he's ready to do just that.
He said he'll talk to his new colleagues, and especially his fellow freshmen many of whom he knows since they were governors at the same time he was Virginia's governor and try to match their interests to his programs.
"What [programs] are they pushing themselves? In many cases I suspect they'll be somewhat similar to the ideas we were advancing and advocating here in Virginia. And so you try to find the common ground and take the best of all those ideas and try and combine them," he said. But he stressed he won't compromise on some areas of principle especially raising taxes.
On another issue, Mr. Allen said he thinks Roger Gregory, a black lawyer from Richmond who would be the first black judge on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, deserves a hearing.
He didn't say he would push that nomination in the next Congress, instead saying he has to be considerate of fellow senators' concerns, including the fact that North Carolina the most populous state in the circuit doesn't have a judge on the court.
He said he favors the Electoral College, so movements to change the system which would require a two-thirds vote in the Senate, as well as two thirds of the House and three quarters of state legislatures probably won't have his help.
Mr. Allen's election win will be studied by strategists from both parties who are eager to divine its implications for the 2001 Virginia governor's race.
Chris LaCivita, Mr. Allen's campaign manager, said the election shows that liberal special-interest groups can't swing an election in Virginia, and that the national Democratic Party, symbolized by President Clinton, doesn't go over well in Virginia.
Mr. LaCivita credited an early ad campaign the first ad, a soft view of Mr. Allen meant to re-introduce him to Northern Virginians and "remind them why they liked him," ran just after Memorial Day. Similar mailings went out about the same time.
He also discounted Mr. Robb's late-campaign tactic of attacking Mr. Allen for having a noose in his law office and the Confederate battle flag in his home years ago, saying Mr. Allen's poll numbers went up among black voters and "moderate" white voters because it played so poorly.
Mr. Allen cited exit polls showing that 17 percent of black voters supported him. Overall, he received 52 percent of the vote to Mr. Robb's 48 percent.
"Early on, there were a lot of people who said, 'Gosh, this is going to be a breeze.' I knew darn well it was not going to be a breeze, regardless of any polls. It is very difficult to knock off an incumbent," Mr. Allen said.
Mr. Allen credited polls published by newspapers that in the final days showed his two- or three-point margin with energizing voters critical to him.
"That was really beneficial to us because it really scared folks, and they said: 'My goodness, we've got to get involved.' And it's amazing how contributions started coming in, and people saying, 'I've got to get signs, I want a bumper sticker,' " he said.
Mr. Allen also said being able to run on his record of having kept his promises he made while running for governor in 1993 was important to this year's race.
That, coupled with current Gov. James S. Gilmore III making good on his promise to spend on education while also cutting the car tax, has given Republicans a record of accomplishments and a history of doing what they say. And that leaves the party in good shape for next year, he and other Republicans said yesterday.
Now, Mr. Allen must turn his attention to keeping another campaign promise that if he won, his three children would get to have a dog.
"The kids were promised a dog, so that's a promise to the kids we'll have to keep," he said.
Asked if he would have given in and gotten a dog anyway, even if he lost, he grinned. "No. I always believe in incentives."

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