The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
George Allen wins GOP primary
BY CHELYEN DAVIS
RICHMOND—Former Gov. George Allen easily won Tuesday’s Republican primary to become the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate, setting up what’s expected to be a hard-fought and high-profile contest between him and Democrat Tim Kaine in the fall election.
Also Tuesday, House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R–7th, easily fended off a primary challenge from Floyd Bayne. Cantor got about 79 percent of the vote to Bayne’s 21 percent.
Cantor will face Democrat Wayne Powell in the general election.
Allen, who lost this Senate seat to retiring Sen. Jim Webb six years ago, defeated three other Republican candidates, taking 65 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns. Jamie Radtke, a former tea party activist running her first race, won about 23 percent of the vote.
Del. Bob Marshall trailed in third at 7 percent of the vote and E.W. Jackson, also in his first race, came in fourth with about 5 percent.
“We’ve heard from the people of Virginia today Virginians are fired up and they’re ready for America’s comeback,” Allen said in a speech to supporters at a hotel in Richmond, where he and Cantor held a joint election party.
As he regularly does in stump speeches, Allen criticized federal Democratic policies like the health care law, EPA regulations and restrictions on oil and gas drilling, as well as “dangerous levels of debt.”
Allen thanked his opponents in the primary, and said Republicans need to come together for the fall election.
“We have had a spirited contest. But now I think all of us share my belief that we need to get all the wings of our party flapping together in the same direction,” Allen said, asking his supporters to reach out to others. “And as we unify all the wings of our party, it is important to welcome independents, and yes, also Democrats, to our side.”
The race between Allen and Kaine is expected to be a marquee match-up, a race between two former governors in a state that’s now considered a swing state and the recipient of a lot of attention and ad buys from the presidential candidates.
Polls taken over the past year consistently show Kaine and Allen in a dead heat.
Allen ran his primary campaign as if it was a race against Kaine already, rarely mentioning his Republican rivals, even as Radtke especially hammered Allen for his spending votes during his last term in the Senate.
Allen’s message seeks to tie Kaine to Washington Democrats. He regularly targets his November opponent’s record as governor and his ties to President Barack Obama, a personal friend of Kaine. Obama appointed Kaine to the partisan job of running the Democratic National Committee.
Kaine, for his part, is critical of Allen’s record from his last Senate term, blaming him for many of the same things Allen blames Democrats for—votes for spending that increased the federal debt and deficit.
In a press release, Kaine congratulated Allen but said the general election campaign presents “a stark choice between two very different visions for our country’s future.
“Voters already had the chance to experience George Allen’s vision during his last term in the Senate, which turned record surpluses into massive deficits, added trillions to our debt, and put opportunity for a select few ahead of opportunity for all our businesses and families,” Kaine added.
“George Allen’s approach helped create our economic mess; Virginians can’t afford six more years.”
Both men are also running on the records the other criticizes; Kaine says that as governor, he balanced the state budget when cuts were needed and helped Virginia win accolades as a good state to do business. Allen reminds voters that as governor, he eliminated parole and reformed welfare.
Turnout in Tuesday’s primary was low—only about 5 percent of voters turned out, fewer even than the low-turnout Republican presidential primary in February.
But in Cantor’s 7th District, turnout was double that. Cantor told reporters that that indicates Republican enthusiasm for Allen and this year’s races.”
“The 7th District is a significant portion of the Republican electorate,” Cantor said. “The 7th District is going to be pivotal for Virginia that bodes very well for a Republican candidate in the fall.”
Chelyen Davis: 804/343-2245