George Allen is launching the first television ads in his campaign for Senate, as he looks to sharpen and humanize his message in the wake of his successful Republican primary bid.
Allen will face fellow former Virginia governor Timothy M. Kaine (D) in November in the contest to succeed retiring Sen. James Webb (D). After mostly staying off the airwaves — Allen launched his first radio ad just a week before the June 12 Republican primary — the Republican is now seeking to reintroduce himself to voters with a pair of ads that will run on a rotating basis statewide for the next couple of months, beginning Thursday. The six-figure buy will include mostly cable spots, with just a handful of broadcast television appearances.
The ads feature two Virginians who know Allen well — Dorothy Jaeckle, vice chair of the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors, and Betsy Beamer, the Secretary of the Commonwealth when Allen was governor — praising him and his candidacy in personal terms.
The ads are part of a broader effort to build out the Allen campaign’s online infrastructure. The spots will be featured on a new microsite, Virginia Voices, and the campaign will soon roll out a new Facebook page, Twitter account and web ads to accompany it.
Allen’s message since entering the race has emphasized boosting the economy, repealing President Obama’s health care plan and increasing energy exploration. The two new ads focus not on policy but on calling Allen “good-natured” and a “a good man, a good husband, a good father [and] a good listener.”
Allen lost the 2006 race to Webb largely as a result of an incident where he called an Indian-American volunteer for Webb’s campaign “macaca,” an ethic slur in some cultures, leading some critics to accuse Allen of being unlikable and a bully. In his current race against Kaine, a Washington Post poll released in May that showed the race tied overall found that Allen was viewed favorably by 47 percent of registered voters and unfavorably by 31 percent.
The poll also showed Kaine with a 7-point lead among women voters.