Local Political Experts React to Allen's Decision

By: Jummy Olabanji Email
By: Jummy Olabanji Email

January 8, 2007

Ending much speculation, former governor George Allen announced on Tuesday that he will not seek re-election for the same office in 2009.

This news coming as a shock to many, on both sides of the political spectrum, mainly because Allen would have been a prohibited favorite within the Republican party.

"He was certainly a potential favorite within the Republican Party and would have been a very strong candidate in the general election," said Matt Smyth, with UVA's Center for Politics.

Even though he lost a controversial 2006 U.S. Senate race to Democrat Jim Webb by a very slim margin, George Allen left the governor's mansion in 1998 with high approval ratings.

Smyth said, "No body really with the exception perhaps of Jim Gilmore on the Republican side with such high name recognition within the state of Virginia and within the Republican Party."

Albemarle County republican party chairman Keith Drake said he imagines Allen may realize he needs to sure up the conservative base before making another run at public office.

"Last fall he endorsed R.I.N.O.s, Republicans In Name Only...and that didn't strike a real good chord with the core conservative base," said Drake.

Political experts say in the future they wouldn't be surprised to see George Allen active within Virginia politics in some fashion; whether its heading up the state party or running for the senate again when Jim Webb's term is up.

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