Former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) officially began his effort to win back his old Senate seat, announcing his campaign Monday in an email and video message to supporters.
In a nearly three minute announcement video posted on Allen's website, he says Virginians are "anxious, worried about losing their jobs and their houses," and that voters are "frustrated, really frustrated that Washington continues to ignore us."
"You know me as someone willing to fight for Virginia and I am asking that you hire me on for six years to fight on behalf of Virginia's voices and values which are being ignored by Washington," Allen wrote in the email. "It's time for an American comeback with leaders who listen to 'We The People,' adhere to foundational principles, rein in spending and start creating opportunities for more jobs."
He highlighted the need to "repeal the government mandated healthcare plan" and "pass a balanced budget amendment and line-item veto." Allen told supporters an official campaign tour is slated for "later in the year."
Allen's decision sets up what could be a rematch of one of the hardest-fought Senate races of the 2006 cycle, pitting Allen against the man who ousted him that year, Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.).
Webb has not yet made his reelection plans known, and there's speculation the first-term Democrat could opt to bow out ahead of 2012. He has yet to kick his fundraising or political operation into high gear, causing concern among some Virginia Democrats about his reelection prospects.
"This should create a sense of urgency for [Webb]," said one leading Virginia Democratic operative. "We need to get started because Allen's gonna have all the money he wants for this race."
Allen lost by fewer than 10,000 votes in 2006 after a nasty campaign highlighted by a gaffe that likely cost him the race. Allen was caught on tape referring to a Webb campaign staffer as "macaca," a moment that placed the race firmly in the national spotlight. It also sank Allen's rising political star.
No matter what Webb decides, Allen is certain to face a GOP primary. Tea Party activist Jamie Radtke has already jumped into the race on the Republican side, and Prince William County Supervisor Corey Stewart and Virginia Del. Bob Marshall could also get in.