Updated: Which Republican will challenge Democrat Webb in 2012? Allen? Gillespie?
As Democratic Sen. Jim Webb gears up for what appears to be a re-election bid in 2012, the question remains who will run against him?
The most obvious is a rematch with Republican George Allen, the former governor and senator he narrowly defeated in 2006.
But many people have also been buzzing about Ed Gillespie, the former counselor to President George W. Bush, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, and most recently, chairman of Gov. Bob McDonnell's gubernatorial campaign last year.
Gillespie gave a very political answer when we asked him about his possible political future. (With a background like that, what do you expect?) He said he was focused on winning 2010 legislative races across the nation as chairman of the Republican State Leadership Committee and has not thought about 2012 yet.
Gillespie didn't rule out anything but he did say he would back his good friend, George Allen, if he decides to run.
Allen has indicated a strong interest. He has been traveling around the state, and next month will take a high-profile spin as speaker at the Shad Planking, one of Virginia's most venerable political traditions.
(Updated: The folks who organize the Shad Planking, the Wakefield Ruritan Club, told us yesterday that they asked Webb to speak at the event before Allen but never heard back from the senior senator from Virginia. But Webb's office told us today when we asked that it has no record of any invitation to speak at Shad Planking.)
Of course, there are some people out there who are still wondering if Webb is running for a second term. He isn't exactly known for his love of campaigning.
Webb sent out his first fundraising letter in December, but in typical Webb fashion he didn't exactly say he was running.
"As I begin thinking about a re-election campaign, I do so with the realization that I will face the same Karl-Rove-style politics that marked my 2006 campaign,'' he wrote. "In Virginia political circles, there is already plenty of speculation about popular and well-funded Republican politicians eager to take me on. Whomever the Republicans choose as my opponent, he or she won't be wanting for campaign contributions."
So is Webb running? You decide.
March 24, 2010; 9:00 AM ET
Categories: Anita Kumar , George F. Allen , James Webb , Robert F. McDonnell
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