Calling the A-Team! It's now official ... George Allen is in. In a phone call Monday afternoon, he confirmed that he was a candidate for the Virginia U.S. Senate seat, and he was ready to go. But let me back up for a moment....
Sunday afternoon the buzz began spreading throughout the internet and news outlets that former Virginia Gov. and U.S. Senator George Allen would be announcing on Monday that he was running for the senate seat he held from 2000-06.
Sure enough, an email with video was emailed shortly after 11:00 Monday morning and, within seconds, the news was being Twittered, spread on Facebook, posted on blogs, and picked up by the mainstream media.
The website GeorgeAllen.com, that had the words, "STAY TUNED," posted on Sunday, now has a message and video announcing his candidacy. In previous campaigns Allen has officially announced on Thomas Jefferson's birthday, which is April 13, so there is speculation he may do that again.
After the email went out, Allen began touching base individually with media types and bloggers, answering questions in his usual forthright, down-to-earth way. Jim Hoeft at Bearing Drift has an excellent Podcast with Allen who addressed a number of issues including lessons learned from 2006 campaign, macaca, and more.
Will he be conservative enough for the tea party? To paraphrase Barbara Mandrell, you could say George Allen was conservative before conservative was cool. He would welcome folks at events with his familiar, "Welcome, Patriots All!" and always ended his remarks with, "Stay strong for Freedom!" He stood for the Second Amendment, and encouraged educational standards at a time when people were concerned about graduates lacking enough knowledge to make it beyond high school. He worked to abolish parole and increase sentences for violent criminals. He also pushed for fiscal responsibility and reduced the size of government in the Commonwealth.
In our phone conversation, which lasted about 10 minutes, we talked about why he was running and what he wanted for Virginia. He said he felt strongly that Virginians' voices and values needed to be carried to Washington. It's a well-known fact that he has been all over the Commonwealth the past few years. Anyone who has attended an event with him has seen him listening to citizens just as he did in the past during his "listening tours." He's still listening, and he has heard Virginians say over and over that they feel ignored by DC. He believes in reining in runaway government and strongly believes in the line item veto.
Being the football fan that he is, I couldn't help but end our talk with one last question: was he for the Steelers or Packers for the Super Bowl? He laughed, said that was a hard question, that they were both good teams and it would be a good game either way, then added an extra tidbit from that endless memory of his. He said he was there when his dad, Washington Coach George Allen, signed Mark Murphy, now president of the Packers, as a free agent for the Redskins. I thanked him for his service to Virginians and his willingness to get back in the political ring.
Later while talking with a friend, she expressed excitement that he was a candidate, calling him a modern-day Ronald Reagan and a strong leader who doesn't back down. Indeed, running for public office is tough, something understood best by those who walk in those shoes. It reminds me of a famous quote from Theodore Roosevelt:
"The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood ... who if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
I expect George Allen will not fail, as do many others who are grateful for his past public service to We the People of Virginia and look forward to his representation in the future. The U.S. Senate election is November 2012.