- Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 April 2011 00:00
- Published on Wednesday, 13 April 2011 00:00
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The 2012 Senate race in Virginia, just as it was back in 2006, will be a contest with national implications. It was Jim Webb’s surprise victory, late on that election night that gave the Democrats control of the Senate. While election night 2012 may not put the Commonwealth in the same pivotal position as it did six years before, when it comes to who controls the Senate the next day, the race in Virginia is going to be important. Unfortunately, the Republicans, with the all but given nomination of their long-time hero George Allen, aren’t
putting their best foot forward. That’s too bad. They could do better.
George Allen’s negatives are particularly high. He may be a likeable, friendly, and aggressive campaigner, but his good old boy charm has long since worn a little thin. His 2006 campaign blunders continue to haunt him, and as a newly minted deficit hawk, he conveniently forgets that while in the Senate he voted for appropriations bills that added $4 Trillion to the national debt.
Allen would, if the likely Democratic candidate Tim Kaine were choosing the GOP nominee, be the perfect choice. Allen has baggage and is weak in Northern Virginia. There is also something else the Republicans should remember. Tim Kaine is a hard core politico. He didn’t jump into this race because he thought he would lose. He fully expects to beat George Allen.
Allen, so far, has only garnered token opposition from within his own party. But, that doesn’t have to be the case. The Republicans can do better. 2012 is a unique opportunity to take back this Senate seat, but to do so the party has to unite under a better candidate.
Fortunately, there is one close at hand. Rob Wittman, our Congressman, has served at every level of government. He was a former Montross Town Councilor, Mayor of Montross, a member of the Westmoreland Board of Supervisors, and served as a former member of the House of Delegates. He has a Doctorate in Public Policy and has been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 2007. Best of all, betraying a little local boosterism on my part, he is from our own Northern Neck. That makes him nearly perfect. He is a committed conservative and his votes on the budget since he went to Washington pass every tea party test there is.
However, though following a conservative line, he is open minded, deliberate, and as his record has proven, he doesn’t backtrack or equivocate. Those are wonderful traits in a Member of the House of Representatives and would be equally welcome in the U.S. Senate. Given my Democratic leanings, it’s fair to say that I have disagreed Congressman Wittman on occasion, but I could never doubt his understanding of the issues or his integrity.
Unlike George Allen, he is no retread. Wittman is a fresh voice and in a contest with Tim Kaine he would be hard to beat.
I don’t know if it’s possible for the GOP to suddenly awaken from its sentimental attachment to Allen or not. They might. Particularly if they realize that a George Allen candidacy may face the same fate as it did in 2006. Who knows, that may prompt an epiphany. For their sakes I hope it does. At that point, a Wittman candidacy, arguably the ideal Virginia Republican for 2012, may begin to look more and more attractive.