Webb of Relationships in 2006 Senate Race

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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 — if an old McCain friend doesn’t get to Allen first.

Former Navy Secretary James Webb, one of McCain’s “oldest friends,” 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 Allen’s presidential aspirations and bolstering McCain’s.

“Party 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 Allen’s own base,” said Larry J. Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “Indirectly, any weakening of Allen would help McCain, and some other GOP presidential candidates.”

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 “a war hero” and “a great patriot.”

The point is raised (and dismissed) whether or not Webb’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 McCain’s presidential election chances.

“No one runs for the Senate on such a basis,” Sabato said. “McCain may be helped as a result of Webb’s challenge to Allen, but it is not the motive behind Webb’s challenge.”

In addition to McCain’s friendship with Webb, the article mentions Senator Warner’s warm relationship with Webb:

Besides McCain, Webb has at least one more fan among defense-minded Senate Republicans. Allen’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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2 Comments

Wow - very interesting. Thanks for pointing this out.

Sophrosyne said:

My pleasure... it is a very interesting article, although I think it doesn't give Allen enough credit. It's going to be very very hard for Webb to make it a tight race (IMHO).

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