Miller, Webb bring Senate campaign to Queen City

Story by Chris Graham

Can Jim Webb overcome his past Republican ties – including his endorsement in 2000 of potential 2006 general-election candidate George Allen – in his quest for the Democratic Party Senate nomination?

Webb said Thursday in Staunton that he doesn’t have a strategy oriented toward that end.

“All I have is issues that I’m working on and talking about,” Webb told reporters during a campaign visit to the Queen City.

“And I’m saying the same thing in the primary that I will say in the general election. The one thing that I think I have to bring to the table when people look at my entire career is that I say what I mean, I speak what I believe. And if people agree with that, then they’ll vote for me. And if they don’t like what I’m saying, then they won’t,” Webb said.

Webb served in the administration of Republican president Ronald Reagan in the 1980s before endorsing Allen in his 2000 Senate challenge to then-incumbent Chuck Robb, a Democrat. Webb has since termed that endorsement “a mistake” – which is something that his nomination-race opponent, Harris Miller, could agree with.

“I certainly welcome Jim Webb to the Democratic Party. We always want to expand the membership of the party,” Miller told The Augusta Free Press during a one-on-one interview Thursday in Staunton.

“We need to know what he really stands for,” Miller said of Webb.

The polls show mixed results as to which of the two would stand the better chance of unseating Allen – who is also being touted as a top contender for the 2008 Republican Party presidential nomination.

A March poll conducted by The Wall Street Journal had Webb within six points of Allen in a head-to-head matchup, but an April 19 survey by independent pollster Scott Rasmussen had both Webb and Miller well behind the senator – with Miller edging ahead of Webb slightly as the stronger challenger.


(Published 04-28-06)

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