George Allen, whose 2006 bid for reelection to the U.S. Senate from Virginia was derailed by what many considered to be a racial slur, will try to win back the seat, it was announced Monday.
In a prepared statement and in a video posted on his campaign website, Allen announced he had filed papers to run for the Senate.
“It’s time for an American comeback with leaders who listen to ‘We The People,’ adhere to foundational principles, rein in spending and start creating opportunities for more jobs,” Allen stated. “To get there we’ll need to listen to Virginia voices – and fight to repeal the government mandated healthcare plan, pass a balanced budget amendment and line-item veto, and reduce our families’ energy costs by unleashing our American resources and creativity.”
A former governor as well as former senator from Virginia, Allen is running for the seat now held by Jim Webb, who defeated Allen six years ago. Webb has not said whether he will seek reelection.
In the 2006 election, Webb narrowly defeated Allen, 50% to 49%. Allen, the son of former NFL coach George Allen, was a potential presidential candidate at the time.
One of the turning points in the race was when Allen was recorded describing an Indian American aide who worked for Webb as a “macaca.” Allen said he had made up the word, which his critics said was a ethnic slur and a corruption of macaque, a type of monkey. Allen eventually apologized to the aide.
Democrats have a 53-47 edge in the Senate, and the Virginia seat is one on which the GOP will likely concentrate as it tries to win control of the chamber.
“George Allen's offensive macaca moment will be the least of his worries,” said Eric Schultz, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesperson.
“Allen is a Republican establishment candidate who spent his years in Washington shilling for corporate interests, wildly spending taxpayer dollars and racking up our national debt,” said Schultz in an e-mailed statement. “We don’t come across a lot of voters these days clamoring for that type of experience.”
Allen could also face a primary battle from the “tea party” movement. Jamie Radtke, a former leader of the Federation of Virginia Tea Party Patriots, has announced she will run.