Monday, April 11, 2011

Senate slugfest looms

With former Gov. Tim Kaine announcing last week that he plans to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Jim Webb in 2012, a potential slobberknocker of a U.S. Senate race is shaping up. One that could decide partisan control of the Senate.

Kaine isn't a lock for the Democratic nomination -- yet. Third District Congressmen Bobby Scott has said he'll announce in June or July if he's interested in the seat. A Kaine/Scott Democratic primary would likely be closely fought. But I'd be surprised to see Scott enter the race now that Kaine is in. He doesn't  have a lot to gain and he'd be giving up a pretty safe House seat.

So, the smart money is on Kaine as the Democratic nominee.

The same is true of former Gov. and Sen. George Allen, the man Webb beat in 2006, on the Republican side.

Allen does have opposition for the nomination. Tea Party activist Jamie Radtke has announced, as  have two even lesser known candidates. Rumor has conservative gadfly Del. Bob Marshall, who lost a bid for the Senate nomination in 2008, and anti-illegal immigration activist Prince William Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart, eyeing the race. A trial balloon for Rep. Rob Wittman (R-1st) went up a few weeks ago, but garnered little attention.

While polling a year away from the primary date doesn't mean all that much, Allen easily leads all announced or rumored candidates now. That's not surprising. As the star of Virginia Republicans resurgence in the 1990s, he has far higher name recognition than his opponents.

You'd have to think the nomination is Allen's to lose. But then, he lost an election in 2006 that was his to lose.

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