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Former senator George Allen is officially in the race for his old seat.
Date published: 1/25/2011
"George Allen has never really had to face in-party competition like this before. The tea party movement didn't exist when he was a senator, and he will have to prove himself as a conservative all over again to get this nomination," said George Mason University political analyst Stephen Farnsworth. "George Allen is saying the right things to endear himself to the tea party movement, but he's a bit later to the party than some politicians. It's pretty clear he can't out-tea party Radtke."
Allen must also beat another problem--the 2006 version of himself.
His 2006 race was a series of missteps, including an incident in which he pointed at a Webb tracker of Indian descent and called him "macaca."
"Having name recognition isn't all a good thing, particularly given George Allen's history," Farnsworth said.
Allen will have to convince Republican voters "that he can do a better job in 2012 than he did in 2006 in terms of the give and take of politics, of not making the kind of mistakes that cost him his Senate seat in 2006," Farnsworth said. "Even people who like Allen's politics and Allen's record may still wonder if he's the most effective campaigner the Republicans can put forward."
The Hill, a D.C. news magazine, yesterday quoted Corey Stewart as saying that he and other Republicans fear Allen will not be able to shake off the macaca taint.
Marshall said that both Allen and Radtke have avoided mentioning social issues that Marshall thinks are critical for a conservative candidate.
He said the two candidates have not talked about hate crime laws, right-to-life laws, or the "don't ask don't tell" situation in the U.S. military. Marshall, an ardent pro-life delegate, has submitted a bill to bar openly gay soldiers from the Virginia National Guard.
Marshall said discussion of social issues will help determine whether he joins the race.
"If I don't see the other candidates addressing these issues seriously that would be an indicator that I should jump in myself," he said.
Allen, who was a former Virginia governor and a state delegate, has a long history in Virginia, and he does have supporters.
House Speaker Bill Howell, R-Stafford County, said he is supporting Allen for the nomination--although he acknowledged it won't be easy.
"I think it'll be a very competitive race for the nomination," Howell said.
In a statement, Howell several times noted Allen's conservative credentials, saying that Allen promoted a "repeal amendment"--a proposal to amend the Constitution to let states overturn federal laws--as far back as 1994.
Chelyen Davis: 540/368-5028