Allen Rejects Run Next Year For 2nd Term As Governor
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
RICHMOND, Jan. 8 -- Former Virginia governor and U.S. senator George Allen announced today that he will not run for governor next year.
Allen (R), who was governor from 1994 to 1998, had fueled speculation that he would seek the office again after traveling across the state to stump for several Republican candidates during the fall legislative elections.
He said that although he was prepared to face the scrutiny of another campaign, he preferred to spend time with his family and continue his work as a consultant and his efforts with the Young America's Foundation, which teaches students about conservative politics. Allen, who is also co-chairman for the presidential campaign of former senator Fred D. Thompson (R-Tenn.), did not rule out a bid for office later in life.
"I think there are many ways one can serve, and I don't have to be in elective office," said Allen, who narrowly lost a bitter Senate reelection campaign to James Webb (D) in 2006. "You can still use experiences and talents the best you can to continue to push and advocate and champion ideas."
The potential field is crowded. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell Jr. have been mentioned as possible candidates for the Republican nomination and are showing signs of interest.
On the Democratic side, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (Bath) has announced that he will run, and Del. Brian J. Moran (Alexandria) has said he is considering a bid. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), like every Virginia governor, is prohibited by state law from seeking a second consecutive term.
McDonnell, who said Allen informed him of his decision Tuesday morning, called him a "tremendous public figure in Virginia." Though he has said he will run, McDonnell has not made a formal announcement.
Allen "has been a truly revolutionary figure in Virginia politics, and the citizens are still enjoying the fruit of his leadership today," McDonnell said during a news conference in which he presented his priorities for the 60-day General Assembly session that begins Wednesday. "I know that he thought long and hard about whether to reenter public life at this time."
Said Bolling, "I think he just realized there is life beyond politics." Bolling declined to comment on his ambitions, saying he is focused on this year's presidential and U.S. Senate races. But he did hold a fundraiser yesterday that attracted 350 supporters.
Initial polls showed Allen easily winning a second Senate term in 2006, and he was considering a run for the GOP presidential nomination this year. But his fortunes shifted after he was caught on a videotape referring to an Indian American volunteer for Webb's campaign by a term considered derogatory in some cultures.