WASHINGTON – Democrat Tim Kaine halted Republican George Allen’s comeback bid for a Senate seat in Virginia, a battle of two political titans in this critical swing state.
Former governors both, Kaine and Allen were locked in a dead heat for almost 18 months of brutal campaigning. Their wives, the former first ladies, played starring roles on the campaign trail.
Allen was seeking to retake the seat he lost six years ago after uttering a racially insensitive term that derailed his campaign and stunted his rising political career. A towering figure in cowboy boots and the son of a legendary football coach, Allen toned down his demeanor, but not his enthusiasm for campaigning. He had multiple daily stops on the trail, but conceded late Tuesday.
Republicans attacked Kaine’s ties to President Obama, especially in his former role as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. But Kaine, a moderate Democrat, sought to appeal to independents, women and minorities, even cutting the Old Dominion’s first-ever television ad with a candidate speaking Spanish to voters –- a fluency he honed in Honduras as a volunteer.