Although the 2012 Virginia senate election is over a year away, political activists on the College of William and Mary campus are already hopping on board the campaign trail in support of their favorite candidates for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Virginia Senator Jim Webb. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have declared their intent to run for office.
“I am really looking forward to the upcoming election in 2012,” Austen Brower ’14 said. “It should be an interesting race between two very strong candidates.”
The current front runners are George Allen and Tim Kaine. Both have held prominent positions in Virginia politics since the 1990s, and both have served as Governor of the commonwealth. Allen will be vying for the Republican nomination, and Kaine will most likely receive the Democratic nomination.
“You know me as someone willing to fight for the people of Virginia,” George Allen said in his first campaign commercial released in January. “[Our goal is] to bring Virginia’s voices and values back to Washington.”
Allen served in the U.S. House of Representatives before his term as governor. He previously served as a senator for the commonwealth of Virginia before he was defeated in the 2006 general election by Jim Webb. He also served as Virginia’s governor from 1994 to 1998. Some students on campus have already showed support for Allen.
“As chairman of the College Republicans, I would offer my support to whoever wins the Republican primary next summer, which looks to be George Allen,” Tyler Johnson ’13 said. “Allen has a great record of serving the commonwealth of Virginia as both a governor and a senator. I believe 2012 is the year that we can, as a club, assist Allen in once again becoming a senator.”
The 2012 election was projected to be a rematch between Allen and Webb until the current senator declared he would not seek re-election. Now Kaine has declared his intent to run as the Democratic nominee.
“I know that Washington can learn a lot of things about Virginia,” Kaine stated on his website. “We have to be unified and competitive in this tough and competitive world to expand jobs.”
Kaine served as lieutenant governor, mayor of Richmond and a Richmond city councilman before becoming governor. During his term as governor, Kaine was appointed the Chair of the Democratic National Committee. Last semester, Kaine spoke about his political past to the students of the College in the Sir Christopher Wren Building.
“The William and Mary Young Democrats are excited that Tim Kaine has decided to run,” Katie Deabler ’12, president of the Young Democrats, said in an e-mail. “While we would have loved to help re-elect Senator Webb, Governor Kaine has a history of serving the Commonwealth well as mayor of Richmond and as governor. I’m sure the W&M Young Democrats will be actively campaigning in Williamsburg and all over Virginia.”
As of right now, Kaine will not be facing any challengers in the Democratic primary. Despite leading in the polls, Allen will face Jamie Radtke, a Richmond Tea Party activist, and David McCormick, an attorney from Hampton Roads, in the Republican primary. Candidate Jamie Radtke recently spoke to the William and Mary College Republicans about her campaign.
“We need to shake up the leadership in both parties in Washington,” Radtke stated to the club. “We need to bring in a fresh new perspective to DC politics.”
Over the next few months, the Senate race may change if additional candidates decide to run. Regardless of who enters the race, politically active students will be right behind their favorite candidates on the campaign trail.