In 2006, when Allen was running against Democrat Jim Webb, Allen went off the cuff and called a Webb campaign volunteer who was filming a campaign event a "macaca." The Washington Post seized on this insensitive remark and proceded to "cover the story" to the tune of more coverage than anything else surrounding the race.
For better or worse, the Washington Post is the most influential newspaper in Virginia despite its progressive leanings. Stephen Spruill effectively documented the Post's campaign against Allen for National Review as the election came to a close:
Since mid-August, the Post has published approximately 100 newspaper articles and editorials about allegations that Allen is racist.
The incident certainly merited coverage, but nothing like what was to follow. The Post followed up Tuesday’s story (and accompanying editorial) with another front-page story on Wednesday. On Thursday, three stories in the Post were about the “macaca” incident, including one purporting to debunk Allen’s excuse that “macaca” was a nickname referring to the volunteer’s mohawk-style haircut. Style-section reporter Libby Copeland reported that the hairstyle in question was not a mohawk at all, but rather “a hybrid of the mullet and the ‘faux-hawk,’ a hipster look that peaks at the top of the head, reminiscent of the cartoon character Tintin.”
As the campaign got dirtier, the Post exhausted every conceivable angle in order to keep the “macaca” story in the paper. First, it sought out the professional grievance groups (“For One Group, ‘Macaca’ Recalls Slurs After 9/11”). Then, it compared Allen’s woes to those of other (Republican) politicians (“Comments Haunt Another Senator; Montana’s Burns Joked About Latinos”). Finally — two weeks after the incident — the Post profiled Macaca himself (“Fairfax Native Says Allen’s Words Stung”).