I don't really know anything about Virginia politics but George Allen may have a fight on his hands from James Webb.
My friend Jim Webb announced last week that he will seek the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate from Virginia. If he wins the Democratic primary, he will challenge the incumbent, Republican George Allen.
Republicans should worry. Webb is an impressive man. He is a 1968 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. As a Marine officer in Vietnam, he led an infantry platoon and company, was wounded twice, and was awarded the Navy Cross (second only to the Medal of Honor as a recognition of valor) and the Silver Star. After he was medically retired from the Marine Corps, he attended Georgetown Law School and later served as counsel to the House Veterans Committee. He is the author of six novels, including Fields of Fire, the best novel there is about Vietnam. During the Reagan administration, he served as an assistant secretary of Defense and secretary of the Navy. Combine his virtues with the fact that Virginia is one of the few states where a conservative Democrat might win, and, if Webb prevails in the Democratic primary, Senator Allen is likely to be in for the fight of his life.
Mac Owens the author of the article notes that Webb feels we're shortsighted in committing so much of our force to Iraq with China looming. He's also pissed at what he percieves as the Republican smearing of Rep. Murtha and other veterans who aren't in favor of the war, as Owens states:
The political tactic of playing up the soldiers on the battlefield while tearing down the reputations of veterans who oppose them could eventually cost the Republicans dearly. It may be one reason that a preponderance of the Iraq war veterans who have thus far decided to run for office are doing so as Democrats.
I just finished reading Webb's most recent book, Born Fighting, (see Sidebar) this weekend and as a candidate he'd be way to the right of most Democratic senators (save Joe from Connecticut). It would be interesting if Webb gets the nomination and I'd guess that Allen would really have to do more than he'd like to reassure his re-election. Though there appear to be signs that Webb's reconsidered and may not run after all--but would his friend write a piece in NRO if this was the case?
If Webb's still in in November this will be a race to watch.
Actually, that last link about Webb not running in from 1/31/06, so I'd say he's definitely in. Here's his site.