That's how it's shaping up, now that Allen, a Republican who lost his Virginia Senate seat to Democrat Webb in 2006, has signed and filed a declaration of candidacy. That step followed an e-mail and video message to supporters Monday afternoon, announcing his plans.
In a statement, he said that "people are frustrated that Washington continues to ignore their views and values. The elections in 2012 will be pivotal in determining the trajectory of our country and if we will continue to decline or begin to ascend again. . . .
"The people of Virginia know me as someone willing to fight to restore freedom, personal responsibility and opportunity for all. I'm asking them to hire me on for six years so that together we can put our country back on the path to prosperity."
Allen's plans had been strongly hinted at in a two-word message that filled his Web site's home page -- "STAY TUNED" -- Monday morning.
Allen would first have to win the GOP primary to set up a rematch with Webb. But he's been active around the state, pushing such conservative causes as repeal of the health care reform law.
Allen, 58, is a former congressman and governor who was elected to the Senate in 2000. He appeared headed toward a second term in 2006 when he shot himself in the foot while campaigning. Noting the presence of a Webb volunteer who had been shadowing his campaign appearances, Allen referred to him as "macaca," a racial epithet -- though Allen later said he was unaware of its pejorative meaning. (The volunteer was of Indian descent.)
The damage, however, was apparently done, and Allen lost by 10,000 votes. Webb, a former secretary of the Navy, has not yet said he will seek re-election, though he is expected to do so.
Democratic officials wasted no time gearing up for an Allen run. "George Allen's offensive macaca moment will be the least of his worries," Senatorial Campaign Committee Communications Director Eric Schultz said Monday in a statement. "Allen is a Republican establishment candidate who spent his years in Washington shilling for corporate interests, wildly spending taxpayer dollars, and racking up our national debt. We don't come across a lot of voters these days hungering for that type of experience."
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