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Allen Campaigns in Charlottesville, Talks Elections

February 11, 2012

Former governor and U.S. Senate candidate George Allen was the featured speaker Saturday morning at the Albemarle Republicans' monthly breakfast.

"We're building our own grassroots insurgency throughout Virginia," Allen said.

In his remarks, the one-time U.S. senator talked about energy independence, jobs and national security, saying Congress and President Barack Obama are steering the country in the wrong direction.

"There's big differences and I envision a much better future for America than what we're having to endure now," Allen said.

Allen would not reveal who he supports as a Republican challenger to President Obama this fall -- "I'm for whoever runs strongest in Virginia," he said -- but whoever snags the nomination could help him retrieve his old Senate seat. Allen lost the 2006 senatorial election to Democratic Sen. Jim Webb.

"Right now, the conservative voice in the House is only going to make it so far if we don't pick up the Senate, if we don't pick up the White House," said Rachel Schoenewald, chair of the Albemarle Republicans.

Should Allen earn the Republican nomination for the Senate, his likely Democratic competitor would be former Gov. Tim Kaine. A poll released in the last week shows the two candidates are neck and neck.

"I think this is going to be a very interesting, very hotly contested race," Schoenewald said.

"The campaign has been close all the way through, and I think it's going to be neck and neck all way through," Allen said. "That's probably one of the only things Tim Kaine and I may agree on."

The Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday shows Kaine with a slight lead over Allen, 45 percent to 44 percent, respectively.

"Campaigns, I think, should be about motivating and inspiring people for ideas," Allen said, adding that his so-called "blueprint for America" is what will get him back on Capitol Hill.

Allen is among five declared candidates seeking the Republican nomination for the Senate. The Senate primary election in Virginia will take place on June 12.

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