Reaction to Allen Heckler

By: Lisa Ferrari
By: Lisa Ferrari

October 31, 2006

A protester was tackled and subdued at a Senator George Allen event at the Omni Hotel in Charlottesville Tuesday. Allen’s campaign and local political analysts are reacting to the altercation.

The Allen campaign is saying challenger Jim Webb’s camp should come out against these over the top stunts. While the UVa center for politics said they don't think this incident will have any affect on voters come Tuesday.

It was all caught on video by our cameras. Mike Stark, a left wing blogger, loudly asked Allen about a rumor Allen once spit at his first wife. Then an Allen staffer says Stark pushed him.

“He physically moved me into the door and then into another closed door,” said Dan Allen, an Allen staffer who is not related to Allen.

The first year University of Virginia law student is then tackled by Allen supporters. Stark said he wasn't physically confrontational. He said he was just trying to get some answers from his elected official.

“Why is that out of line? Why are asking politicians difficult questions out of line?” said Stark later in the day.

Allen reacted to the altercation.

“People have a right to express themselves and do it in a peaceful manner and that is their right to do so."

Stark attempted to file assault charges this afternoon and that Allen staffer says he may do the same. He said if he could get back to Charlottesville he would look into filing charges.

The big question -- will it impact the election? The UVa Center for Politics Director Larry Sabato says “No.”

“The good news is it is a tiny little incident and it won't make much difference one way or the other,” said Sabato.

Webb's camp Tuesday night told us they had nothing to do with it as did a group of protesters outside the Omni Hotel. Allen's camp said this is the second time stark has confronted Allen. And that Monday he posted what he was planning on his website today.

Last we spoke to Larry Sabato, a couple of weeks ago, he predicted Allen a sure winner. Today he wasn't willing to make that same prediction -- saying the race may be too close to call.

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