AP Political Writer
SUFFOLK, Va. - Republican George Allen has run his last political campaign.
Allen, who helped spawn the largest GOP resurgence since Reconstruction in Virginia with his election as governor in 1993, first disclosed his decision in a Monday morning interview with the Waynesboro News-Virginian.
After a crushing loss to Democrat Tim Kaine a week ago, the cowboy-booted namesake son of a legendary pro football coach told the News-Virginian and other newspapers during the day that he has "no intention of running for office again."
Allen was running for the Senate seat he fumbled away in 2006 in an upset loss to Democratic newcomer Jim Webb. Allen's use of the slur "macaca" to a Webb campaign aide of Indian descent was widely blamed for his downfall.
The decision was not surprising.
Two losses in a bid to win back the Senate seat he won convincingly in 2000 moved Allen to the back of a large pack of emerging Republican candidates for statewide office. Rarely in Virginia's crowded political environment do major political parties give a candidate a second chance after a statewide loss.
Allen lost to Webb by about 9,000 votes six years ago, but his loss to Kaine a week ago was not close. Kaine, like Allen a former governor, won slightly more than 2 million of the nearly 3.8 million ballots cast, a final margin of 6 percentage points over Allen.
More than $80 million was spent during the Senate race, with at least $52 million coming from outside groups that acted independently of both campaigns. Nearly two-thirds of the outside money spent was on television advertising either in support of Allen or in opposition to Kaine.
The News-Virginian reported that Allen and his wife, Susan, decided during a weekend trip to forgo future elective office.
It brings to a close a political career that achieved reforms from 1994 to 1998 of a scope that no governor has since matched.
Under Allen's watch, the state abolished parole, required people who could hold jobs to do so as a condition for receiving welfare benefits and instituted the Standards of Learning, the statewide gauge for scholastic achievement still in use today.
"George will go down in history as one of the most influential and successful governors Virginia has ever known," Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a statement expressing regret at Allen's decision to leave politics.
The Waynesboro News-Virginian: http://bit.ly/UBg3nN
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