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Published: Thursday, 11/9/2006

Virginia s GOP Sen. Allen concedes, giving Democrats control of Congress

ASSOCIATED PRESS

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Republican Sen. George Allen conceded defeat today to Democrat Jim Webb, sealing the Democrats control of Congress and the political downfall of a man once considered a White House contender.

Allen said the owners of government have spoken and I respect their decision.

The Bible teaches us there is a time and place for everything, and today I called and congratulated Jim Webb, he said.

Webb, a former Republican and Navy secretary under President Reagan, claimed victory early Wednesday after election returns showed him with a narrow lead of about 7,200 votes out of 2.37 million ballots cast.

Allen chose not to demand a recount after initial canvassing of the results failed to significantly alter Webb s lead.

I do not wish to cause more litigation that would not alter the results, Allen said, adding that he saw no good purpose being served by continuously and needlessly expending money and causing any more personal animosity.

The Virginia contest was the last undecided Senate race in the country, and Webb s victory tipped the scales, giving the Democrats control of 51 Senate seats and majorities in both the House and Senate for the first time since 1994.

Allen, 54, son of a Hall of Fame football coach, served as governor in the 1990s and was popular for abolishing parole and instituting other conservative reforms.

Allen had been expected to cruise to a second term this year and make a run for the White House in 2008.

But in Webb he faced an unconventional challenger. Supporters drafted Webb, a political neophyte, to run because of his early opposition to the Iraq war.

Allen was comfortably ahead in polls until August, when he mockingly referred to a Webb campaign volunteer of Indian descent as Macaca, regarded by some as a racial slur. The incident, caught on videotape, became international news.

Some former football teammates from the University of Virginia also charged that Allen had commonly used a slur for blacks something he denied.

Webb, a 60-year-old Naval Academy graduate and decorated Vietnam veteran, tried to tie Allen to President Bush and the war during the campaign. He also seized the Reagan edge, having served in the former president s administration, and used a video in ads that showed Reagan praising him.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com



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