George Allen Comeback?

The Swamp: Rebounding George Allen, rising Fred Thompson

Former Sen. George Allen, who made “macaca” a household word and upset his once-promising political career, already shows signs of preparing for a possible comeback. His new Web site,, touts his travels around Virginia, mostly in Republican-friendly territory. A press account posted on his site of a Republican fundraiser in Harrisonburg quotes supporters urging him to run for governor in 2009. And last week, Allen took to the airwaves after winning what amounted to four hours of free publicity. The ex-governor, who lost his Senate seat to Virginia Democrat Jim Webb last fall, served as guest host one morning on WRVA radio’s “Richmond Morning News” show.

The front page of his website is a blog which consists mostly of friendly news clippings, including a report in the Harrisonburg Daily News and Record that Allen visited that city to stump for local Republican candidates and that a few enthusiasts were hoping he’d make a run for governor.

More interestingly, he’s using to site to solicit donations for something called the Good Government Action Fund, which “allows me to support candidates who share in my ideals and support causes to improve freedom, opportunity, justice and common sense Jeffersonian conservative principles with a focus on making Virginia a better place to live, learn and raise our families.”

Whether any of that signals an intention to run for political office soon is anyone’s guess. Virginia does not permit governors to serve consecutive terms, so every cycle features an open race. There’s also widespread speculation that John Warner, the Commonwealth’s senior senator, will retire, creating a vacancy next November.

My hunch is that Allen will indeed mount a bid for one or both of those positions. He went from being a highly touted presidential hopeful to something of a national laughingstock with the Macaca mess and some ensuing gaffes. It’s hard to see how he recovers from that anytime soon, especially in a state that’s getting Bluer by the day, as the D.C. suburbs and exurbs of Northern Virginia continue to experience record growth. Then again, Trent Lott managed to find his way back into the Senate leadership.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. legion says:

    Whether any of that signals an intention to run for political office soon is anyone’s guess.

    What it signals is an increasing desperation to find GOP candidates with any hope of getting elected, or even raising enough funds to keep the party solvent. If, as you note, VA continues trending blue, Allen’s only value may be in that latter category…

  2. TruVajanyan says:

    Allen will definitely make a comeback in the Commonwealth where people know him and know his record of accomplishment. He is free to rebuild the grassroots network that first got him elected to the Governorship. It was the piss-poor strategy, or complete lack thereof on the part of his campaign manager, that made it impossible for Allen to recover from the Macaca incident. Allen is now free to reconnect with his base and raise plenty of money for a future campaign. It’s a skill he honed expertly in his capacity as Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Governor or Senator Allen will undoubtedly be back.