George Allen rules out future runs for political office
(by Julian Walker, The Virginian-Pilot, November 13, 2012, Link)
RICHMOND - While George Allen has plenty of options to ponder after losing his bid to return to the U.S. Senate, he seems sure of one thing: The recently concluded campaign was his last for public office.
"I have no intention of running for office again," a relaxed-sounding Allen told The Virginian-Pilot on Monday in some of his first public comments since he addressed crestfallen Republicans last Tuesday.
Asked what's next, Allen said only six days have passed and he hasn't decided what pursuits lie ahead; he and wife Susan are just back from a Southwest Virginia funeral for a federal judge who was a mentor to him.
Allen still has his consulting firm, and there are likely to be people interested in his services because of his access and experience as a former state legislator, governor and congressman.
Reflecting on the bruising and expensive Senate race with Democrat Tim Kaine, who unofficially prevailed by more than 218,700 votes out of more than 3.7 million cast, Allen said his aim was to focus on issues.
In his pitch to voters, Allen called for offshore drilling and less-restrictive energy policies, repeal of President Barack Obama's health care law, reform of the federal tax code and a halt to the billions in automatic defense budget cuts set for next year.
"We wanted to make sure that this campaign was focused on the ideas and concerns and voices that we were hearing from the people of Virginia," Allen said Monday. "The thing people cared about most are their jobs and jobs for children."
Allen, 60, didn't hide his social views on the trail - he's firmly anti-abortion and against gay marriage - but didn't dwell on them, either.
Nor did he harp on Kaine's late-term move as governor to allow Jens Soering, a convicted double-murderer, to be transferred to a German prison, which could have led to his release after two years. Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell halted that action after taking office in 2009.
Allen, who abolished parole and toughened criminal sentencing while governor in the 1990s, opted not to attack Kaine on that topic even though there was a bright-line contrast between them.
Asked about that decision, Allen said the Soering affair "was not a jobs and the economy issue" and spotlighting it would have diverted attention from the topics he wanted to engage voters on.
Yet even in defeat, the campaign appeared redemptive for Allen in that it gave him another chance to enter the political fray and reconnect with voters after a humbling defeat to Democrat Jim Webb in his 2006 Senate re-election bid.