George Allen won today’s Republican Senate primary in Virginia, the Associated Press said, giving him the opportunity to regain the seat he lost six years ago.
Allen, 60, defeated three primary opponents who included Jamie Radtke, a former chairwoman of the Federation of Virginia Tea Party Patriots.
The victory by Allen, who also served as Virginia’s governor, sets up a November matchup with another former governor and the one-time head of the Democratic National Committee, Tim Kaine. Senator Jim Webb, a Democrat who isn’t seeking re-election, in 2006 ousted Allen from the Senate.
Allen’s bid that year for a second term faltered after a campaign appearance in August 2006, in which he referred to an Indian-American Webb campaign aide as “macaca,” a term considered to be a racial slur in some countries, referring to a macaque, a kind of monkey. The remark was caught on video and circulated on the Internet.
Kaine, 54, is a close ally of President Barack Obama. He was co-chairman of Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and was considered a possible running-mate pick.
Surveys indicate the race, crucial to Democratic hopes of retaining a Senate majority, will be close. Kaine led Allen by one percentage point in a poll by Hamden, Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University conducted May 30 to June 4.
Allen will be seeking to become just the third ex-senator in more than 50 years to return to the chamber after being removed from it by voters.
Slade Gorton, a Washington state Republican, lost his Senate seat to Democrat Brock Adams in 1986, then won a race for an open seat in 1988. Democrat Howard Metzenbaum of Ohio lost the 1974 Democratic primary for the Senate seat he had been appointed to earlier that year, then beat a Republican incumbent in 1976’s general election.
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