Updated 12 p.m. | George Allen, the former Virginia governor and Senator running to reclaim his former seat on Capitol Hill, launched the first two TV ads of the highly competitive open-seat race.
Largely out of the spotlight since his upset re-election loss in 2006, the ads focus solely on Allen's character as the campaign works to reacquaint voters with him. There is nothing in the ads about his past work; policy stances; his opponent, former Gov. Tim Kaine (D); or President Barack Obama, all of which Allen often mentions on the stump.
The ads are hitting statewide airwaves today, just a little more than a week after Allen's resounding Republican primary victory. The "Virginia Voices" TV ad campaign, as it's called, will rotate two spots at a time. The campaign is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars over the next few months to run ads primarily on cable, but it also will run some targeted broadcast buys. A source with knowledge of the buy said the Allen campaign has so far spent less than $150,000 total on this buy with fewer than 150 points in each market.
The Kaine campaign said the ads were part of an "ongoing effort to distract from [Allen's] failed U.S. Senate record."
Kaine has not yet aired any TV ads but already purchased at least $2.5 million in fall TV time. Kaine and Allen are running for the seat of retiring Sen. Jim Webb (D), and Roll Call rates the race as a Tossup.
One ad features Dorothy Jaeckle, the vice chairwoman of the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors, who recalls meeting then-Gov. Allen on a field trip with fourth- and fifth-graders. The other features Betsy Beamer, who was secretary of the commonwealth when Allen was governor and now serves as a senior adviser to his campaign.