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In Virginia, Skipping GOP Convention Works Out Well for George Allen

Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call
Former Virginia Gov. George Allen attended a meet-and-greet at Veramar Vineyard in Clarke County, Va. Allen was in the Northern Shenandoah Valley on a campaign swing for his Senatorial bid. Click here to see more photos from the campaign trail.

"It is our freedom that's at stake this November," state Sen. Mark Obenshain said. "We have lost so much freedom over the course of the last four years that we have an opportunity to roll back some of those changes. We can't do it with just electing Mitt Romney. We can't do it just sending [Rep.] Frank Wolf back to Congress. We have to send them a partner," Obenshain continued as he introduced Allen.

Even the invocation of the vineyard "meet and greet" showed the fighting mood the crowd was in, as Shawn Nicholson, the wife of Clarke County Republican Committee Chairman Andrew Nicholson, cited Ephesians 6:13 from the Bible. That passage reads, according to the New International Version: "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." She went on to pray that God "remove those unfit to serve" before ceding the microphone to the other local officials warming up for Allen.

But despite the red meat served up at the Aug. 25 soirée, Allen likely knows he has to win over independents and even some Democrats in what state Del. Randy Minchew referred to as the "blue virus" in northern Virginia and its bordering counties, including the swingiest of the bunch, Loudon.

"And as you go forward and, in trying to persuade people to get out to vote for our side, I would not, and I say this in all due respect, don't argue, or portray it as red versus blue, or Republican versus Democrat. Talk about our ideas. Our proven solutions. Achievable reforms that will improve people's lives at their kitchen tables," Allen said.

Allen reiterated a similar line in Abingdon, but the questions he took afterward revealed that partisan hard feelings will likely be present throughout the campaign, as several people encouraged Allen and others present to rush to see "2016: Obama's America." The new film by Dinesh D'Souza posits that Obama is seeking to please his dead father by implementing anti-colonialist and socialist policies.

Allen, who repeated the showtimes at the local theater being shouted out to him, tried to redirect people to Romney's nomination acceptance speech, encouraging them to go to the earlier screenings of the movie before tuning in to Romney's night at the convention. "You ought to watch Mitt Romney tonight, so go early," he said.

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