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George Allen acting like a Senate candidate again

Del. Sal R. Iaquinto of Virginia Beach said Allen's office called to set up a time to talk by phone. The two have yet to speak, but Iaquinto said he doesn't know whom he would support in the Senate race. "He's a fine man,'' said Iaquinto.

Allen is talking to former advisers about rejoining him - lead consultant Boyd Marcus, adviser Dan Allen and pollster John McLaughlin, the sources said. Ben Marchi, the state director of Americans for Prosperity who announced recently that he is leaving the organization after three years, is expected to become an adviser, too. Marcus, McLaughlin and Dan Allen did not return calls for comment.

Allen is expected to open his campaign headquarters in Richmond - where it was for his first two statewide races. In 2006, he was criticized for moving his campaign headquarters from Richmond to Northern Virginia because some felt he was out of touch with the rest of the state. He was U.S. senator from 2001 to 2007.

Some conservatives and Allen's potential Republican rivals have criticized him as too moderate and part of the establishment. But Allen disputes that.

"I know my record,'' he said. "It's one of a conservative in Congress."

Allen said he supports proposals to require a balanced federal budget, a line-item veto requirement for the president, earmark reform and a repeal of the health-care overhaul.

Last month, Jamie Radtke, head of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation, became the first Republican to jump in the race. Radtke, who did not seek a second term as tea party leader last month and who worked for Allen right out of college, challenged him to joint forums. He declined Wednesday to respond to her directly. "I've been having town hall meetings for many years - doing it this week," he said.

At least three others have said they are interested in running: Corey A. Stewart, head of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors; Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William) and Bert Mizusawa, a businessman and lawyer who ran against Scott Rigell for a U.S. House seat but lost.

Webb said in December that he would announce a decision in the first quarter of this year. Webb spokesman Will Jenkins declined to comment this week, but Democrats are talking like Webb is running.

"George Allen spent six mediocre years in the Senate running for president and complaining about how bored he was," said Brian Coy, a spokesman for the Democratic Party of Virginia. "Assuming he makes it out of a competitive Republican primary, we're looking forward to a campaign comparing his record with Senator Jim Webb's leadership on national security, veterans issues and criminal justice."

Staff writer Rosalind S. Helderman and researcher Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this report.

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