Allen focuses on women in first Virginia ads

"George Allen is one of the most good-natured people I've ever come across," says Chesterfield County Supervisor Dorothy Jaeckle in one of the ads, which shows Allen laughing with multiracial groups of women and children. "When he was governor I was on a field trip with my son and George Allen was on his way to work. I yelled something out to him and instead of heading on his way he turned around and came right over. It was so clear that he was interested in engaging in a conversation with the mothers of fourth- and fifth-graders to talk about education policy. I think he made an impression on everyone that day."

The ads marks a departure in tone for Allen, who is locked in a tight race with former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D). Allen has focused nearly all of his campaign thus far on tying Kaine to Obama, a curious strategy since Obama remains relatively popular in the state and Kaine is as well-known as Allen.

The new focus could help the former governor, who needs to win as many suburban female voters as possible around Washington, D.C., and Richmond. He also focused on his time as governor rather than his time in Washington, a recurring theme of officeholders trying to get some distance from an unpopular Congress.

The ad buy is at this point a small one — $150,000 so far, according to a Democratic source tracking the race — and will mostly air on cable television. The Allen campaign plans to increase the ad buy to the high six figures by the end of the summer, according to a source close to the campaign, making it a more substantial purchase.

The Hill rates the race a "toss-up."

This post was last updated at 1:50 p.m.