Jim Webb Retiring Creates an Opportunity for Virginia Republicans

With Democratic Sen. Jim Webb retiring, Republicans should nominate someone other than George Allen.

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So Virginia Democratic Sen. Jim Webb is not seeking re-election. This is not a big surprise to those who follow politics. The real question is, what will Republicans do with this announcement?

They can nominate former Sen. George Allen or they can make a fresh break. The choice is clear, but the likelihood is slim.

Allen served as a successful governor and one-term U.S. senatobefore Webb defeated him in 2006. Webb didn’t win that race as much as Allen lost it. No need to repeat Allen’s racial slur or remind voters it was a strong Democratic year.  [See a slide show of 10 Democrats targeted for defeat in 2012.]

Now that the thrill of a rematch is gone, why not nominate someone who might actually win statewide? Virginia is a changing state. Yes, there are parts of the state farther west than Detroit. And yes, there are other parts of the state where the Civil War is still alive and well, but these are not the majority.

Since moving to Virginia I have written in my brother’s name for every major statewide race, as well as some local elections, except for governor. I voted for now DNC Chairman Tim Kaine (in large part because the GOP nominee was patently anti-Catholic) in 2005, and Gov. Bob McDonnell in 2009. While my brother would make an excellent senator, my guess is he would rather focus on his new favorite role: grandfather. 

The reason I have voted for my brother, and will do so again if necessary, is because Republicans in this state feel the need to nominate men who are so far to the right they make my other brother, who proudly displays an Antonin Scalia ornament on his Christmas tree, look like a flaming liberal. With the economy still hurting, two on-going wars, worries about education and home values still sagging, voters--even conservative ones like myself--would rather our leaders focus on helping right our country’s ship, instead of worrying about whose going to bed with whom! [See a slide show of the top 10 cities to find a job.]

My personal choice would be former Republican ex-Rep. Tom Davis. He flirted with running in 2008 for the seat now held by Democratic Sen. Mark Warner. But the powers that be blocked his efforts and nominated another has been, former governor who had a failed term as head of the RNC. Warner, immensely popular to begin with, won in walk.

Davis represented Northern Virginia for years. He was a successful head of the NRCC, which meant he could go into conservative and liberal districts alike nationwide and campaign for Republicans of all stripes--and they would win. Davis is more moderate than some in the party establishment would like, but so what. Isn’t it better to win with the best candidate than lose (again) with yesterdays news?

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