Thursday, November 10, 2005

Roll Call article on what Kilgore's loss means for George Allen

Is Kaine Win Allen’s Loss? November 10, 2005 By Paul Kane and Lauren W. Whittington, Roll Call Staff After months of gathering momentum this summer and fall for his national political ambitions, Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) suffered a bump in the road to the White House with a GOP defeat in the Old Dominion’s gubernatorial race. Allen campaigned heavily for GOP nominee Jerry Kilgore, only to see him lose to Democrat Tim Kaine on Tuesday by a surprisingly wide 6-point margin. The outcome prompted talk that the national ambitions of Allen’s Democratic rival, outgoing Gov. Mark Warner, had been boosted by the Kaine victory. Allen and his supporters downplayed any significance of what the Kilgore loss meant to his own political legacy in Virginia and for his widely acknowledged interest in running for the White House in 2008. “It doesn’t have an impact on me whatsoever,” Allen said Wednesday about the Kaine-Kilgore race. Instead, he intends to keep his focus limited to the short-term on winning re-election next year. “It doesn’t change my focus,” he said. “It would be easier to have a governor on your side.” It’s an open debate as to how much weight can be placed on victories racked up in a presidential hopeful’s home state, with certain wins being touted as credentials for a national campaign and losses often being shrugged off as the work of outside factors linked to a campaign that operated independently of a Senator’s national ambition. While even Kaine himself cited his victory as a sign of Warner’s national viability, Allen’s backers downplayed the race as one that pivoted on Warner’s own popularity and a series of strategic mistakes made by Kilgore. == SNIP == For Allen, the fallout from the Kilgore campaign represents the first bit of bad political news in months. He was recently profiled in one of the most significant conservative publications, the National Review, with a glowing cover picture. And as others have stumbled in the Senate in recent months — Frist is under investigation for his personal finances, and Santorum is trailing badly in his own Senate race — Allen has been increasingly been seen as potentially the most viable Senator to contend for the GOP nomination. But the Kilgore defeat, at least for now, has some asking questions about Allen’s viability — as well as the fact that, were he to join a successful national ticket, he’d be replaced by a Democrat appointed by Kaine. “In addition to the hit that his own guy got smacked down, its hard to argue that you should be president or [vice president] when a Democrat is going to appoint your successor to the Senate,” said one GOP operative associated with a potential ’08 rival. Allen shrugged off that suggestion entirely, saying it had never entered his mind. “I hadn’t thought about that,” he said of his successor in the Senate if he were to move to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. “That’s a good question. I hadn’t thought about it.” But his supporters say that, if anything, Kilgore didn’t do enough to attach himself to Allen and Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), both of whom remain very popular. The two Senators, earlier this fall, went to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and cut ads for Kilgore to use, providing him with a pair of surrogates in the same way Mark Warner appeared in many Kaine ads. Regionally, some suggested, it would have at least made sense to run Allen ads in Richmond and southern Virginia, where he’s wildly popular, and John Warner ads in Northern Virginia — where, according to one well-placed source, the octogenarian Senator’s approval ratings are well into the 60 percent to 70 percent range. Instead, those ads never ran, two GOP sources said. They only appeared on Kilgore’s web site. (emphasis added) “There’s a lot of blame to go around, but I’m not pointing any fingers,” Sen. Warner told Roll Call. In the short term, Democrats still do not have a big-name opponent to take on Allen in 2006, and any money left over in that Senate campaign account can be transferred into a presidential account as the seed money for his national ambitions. Most GOP observers say that Old Dominion voters don’t have any problems with Allen’s national overtures this year, including trips to places such as New Hampshire. Patrick McSweeney, a Richmond attorney and former chairman of the state GOP from 1992 to 1996, said that Allen won’t be “punished” the way some governors in Virginia have been when they have hinted at their ambitions for higher office while serving statewide. “In fact, I think it’s enhanced George’s stature in Virginia, among Republicans at least, that he’s seen by his colleagues and others as a likely candidate,” McSweeney said. “But he’s got some work to do. This was not a help to him, but this was not the blow that some of the media have painted it as.” “There are some people who might make it out to be that this was an election between George Allen and Mark Warner, and that’s just absurd,” said Chris LaCivita, Allen’s longtime adviser. Blaming some GOP members of the state Legislature who worked with Mark Warner on key state issues and helped enhance his popularity, LaCivita noted that the governor's legacy was on the line, not Allen’s. Others in Allen’s camp also contended that Kilgore underperformed the other statewide GOP candidates for attorney general and lieutenant governor, both of whom hit 50 percent or better. They suggested that Kilgore was not a good candidate, particularly in areas of the state that have yielded stronger support for Republicans. And, his decision to run a heavily negative campaign — including ads that suggested Kaine wouldn’t even support the death penalty for Adolf Hitler — soured moderate voters in northern Virginia, one adviser said. “That was a [Kilgore] campaign strategy. That has nothing to do with Allen,” the adviser said. Copyright 2005 © Roll Call Inc. All rights reserved.

10 Comments:

At 11/10/2005 12:12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Democrat, I would looove the Republicans to pick George Allen as their candidate in 2008.

I'm almost giddy at the thought.

 
At 11/10/2005 01:38:00 PM, Anonymous Rtwng Extrmst said...

This will have no impact on Allen. He has to win re-election to Senate next year and if he does so easily, none of this will matter.

Also, anon above: Glad to hear at least some dems like the idea of hearing the words "President Allen". ;-)

 
At 11/10/2005 01:42:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, I like hearing the words "Republican Presidential Candidate Allen".

May as well replace Allen with doofus, and you have my opinion of the man.

 
At 11/10/2005 02:25:00 PM, Anonymous Rtwng Extrmst said...

Doofus? I would hardly put him in the same category as Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and John Kerry. ;-)

 
At 11/10/2005 03:07:00 PM, Blogger Riley, Not O'Reilly said...

I thought Doofus was Mark Warner. I'm confused now.

 
At 11/10/2005 03:08:00 PM, Blogger too conservative said...

I like Senator Allen a great deal.

I have heard he is shaky on some social issues though.

I feel strongly that is Warner ever got the Dem. nod, he would win the Presidency.

All they need is one more state, and VA would easily go his way.

 
At 11/10/2005 04:48:00 PM, Anonymous Kevin Allen said...

George Allen is not Prolife. During the last campaign he said that abortion should be legal in the first trimester. He also supported FLE when he was a member of the GA.

 
At 11/10/2005 05:16:00 PM, Anonymous Rtwng Extrmst said...

Interestingly I am right now listening to George on the Hannity show. He made an interesting snub (purposely or not I do not know) to Russ Potts. He said "there were only two people on the ballot and the people of Virginia had a choice between Tim Kaine and Jerry Kilgore..." Sorry Pottsie. Hehe.

 
At 11/10/2005 11:01:00 PM, Blogger Mitch Cumstein said...

"George Allen is not Prolife. During the last campaign he said that abortion should be legal in the first trimester."

Does Allen really believe and support that position or did he only say it to appeal to social moderates like me?

 
At 11/11/2005 08:55:00 AM, Blogger Riley, Not O'Reilly said...

I'll have to go dig back through things, but I saw this raised on Free Republic a few months ago. That isn't quite accurate. The most important issue, though, is that he has a 100% rating on pro-life votes all around from every pro-life group out there.

 

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