Webb of Relationships in 2006 Senate Race
The Hill has a front page story today on the interconnected relationships between Senator Allen, Senator McCain, Senator Warner and James Webb.
Sens. George Allen (Va.) and John McCain (Ariz.) could square off for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination â€” if an old McCain friend doesnâ€™t get to Allen first.
Former Navy Secretary James Webb, one of McCainâ€™s â€œoldest friends,â€ is vying for the Democratic nomination to take on Allen in his reelection bid this November. Although Webb must first get past lobbyist Harris Miller in the Democratic primary, political analysts say his candidacy could end up hampering Allenâ€™s presidential aspirations and bolstering McCainâ€™s.
â€œParty activists expect a presidential contender to have strong home support, and if Webb (or Miller) could even come close to Allen in 2006, the results would raise questions about Allenâ€™s own base,â€ said Larry J. Sabato, director of the University of Virginiaâ€™s Center for Politics. â€œIndirectly, any weakening of Allen would help McCain, and some other GOP presidential candidates.â€
Despite the longtime friendship between McCain and Webb, a former Republican, the Arizona senator said he is backing Allen. Even so, in an interview outside the Senate chamber last week, McCain called Webb â€œa war heroâ€ and â€œa great patriot.â€
The point is raised (and dismissed) whether or not Webbâ€™s entry into the Virginia Senate race is primarily intended to weaken Allen and consequently help McCain as Republicans jockey into position for the 2008 Presidential Primary.
Whatever the relationship, Sabato and others discounted any suggestion that one of the reasons Webb entered the race was to boost McCainâ€™s presidential election chances.
â€œNo one runs for the Senate on such a basis,â€ Sabato said. â€œMcCain may be helped as a result of Webbâ€™s challenge to Allen, but it is not the motive behind Webbâ€™s challenge.â€
In addition to McCainâ€™s friendship with Webb, the article mentions Senator Warnerâ€™s warm relationship with Webb:
Besides McCain, Webb has at least one more fan among defense-minded Senate Republicans. Allenâ€™s home-state GOP colleague, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman and former Navy Secretary John Warner, tried to recruit Webb to run in a 1994 Virginia Senate primary against eventual Republican nominee Oliver North.
Definitely a very complex relationship matrix that leaves the door wide open for conspiracy theorists. The Hill article is worth a read.
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