Thursday, November 17, 2011

Senate Race 2012 - #3423 - GOP Aims to Nationalize Allen vs. Kaine Race in Virginia - Real Clear Politics

When Virginians head to the polls next November, Republican Senate candidate George Allen hopes they will cast their ballots with these hot-buttons issues in mind: a testy National Labor Relations Board decision blocking Boeing from moving an airline plant to a right-to-work state; federal environmental regulations that are holding up the construction of the Keystone XL, a pipeline that would transport crude oil from Canada to the United States; the health care law -- dubbed “Obamacare” by Republicans -- that requires everyone to carry health insurance; and the White House’s 2009 stimulus package and the more recent one presented as a jobs bill. But the NLRB decision impacts South Carolina, the pipeline would run from Alberta to Texas, and the Democrats' health care and spending legislation impacts the Old Dominion only insofar as Virginia is part of the United States. So why is Allen (pictured) pushing these issues in his campaign to turn the state's currently blue Senate seat red? The answer is simple: He’s nationalizing the race. It’s a strategy Republicans are employing to some degree in almost every state, while Democrats are attempting to do the exact opposite: localize the races. But two factors make it more salient in Virginia: The first is that both parties now consider it a key swing state, one of the half-dozen or so bellwethers that will determine not just whether the U.S. Senate remains in Democratic hands, but also who will assume (or keep) the presidency.

The second factor is that Allen’s likely Democratic opponent in 2012 is Tim Kaine. Like Allen, Kaine is a former governor who left the statehouse in Richmond with high approval ratings. But Kaine is also a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. And as both candidates vie for the opportunity to replace retiring Sen. Jim Webb, Allen is making clear his strategy of tying Kaine to President Obama.  Read more........

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