Former Sen. George Allen will end weeks of speculation and formally declare his candidacy for U.S. Senate in Virginia on Monday, two Republican advisers tell POLITICO.
The announcement comes as no surprise. The former governor and senator has been touring the state to champion a repeal of the health care law, quietly reaching out to state lawmakers and seeking advice from those who guided his earliest campaigns.
In another sign an announcement is imminent, on Sunday evening, the homepage of Allen’s website read simply: “Stay Tuned.”
One top Virginia political operative said Allen’s rollout Monday is mostly designed to meet requirements of the Federal Election Commission, so he can begin organizing and fundraising.
“He’s going to file his paperwork, and it’s not exploratory. He’s in. This allows him to start raising money, it allows him to start putting the physical political pieces in place,” said the operative, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Allen very narrowly lost his re-election bid to Democrat Jim Webb in 2006, a terrible political year for Republicans. Webb's upset win, which was aided by Allen's infamous "macaca" gaffe, tipped the Senate majority to Democrats -- a majority they haven't relinquished. With the GOP poised to reclaim the upper hand in the upper chamber next year, Virginia could represent fertile ground for a GOP pickup. Republicans will need to net four seats to gain a majority.
With George Allen reportedly taking the plunge, the Beltway's collective gaze now shifts to Sen. Webb, who has remained studiously guarded about his intentions to run for a second term. His silence on the question has led to speculation that he won't mount a re-election bid. Webb may see the writing on the wall: Virginia Democrats endured a thorough rout in 2009, and lost three House seats last November. He's also been the target of searing criticism from his party's Left flank. Liberals panned his one-time opposition to repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and hammered him over a July 2010 Wall Street Journal Op/Ed calling for the cessation of race-based affirmative action.
For the official word that former Senator Allen wants to become future Senator Allen, keep an eye on his website. Check out the AP report on this story on our homepage here.