VA-Sen: Harris Miller To Challenge Allen

Republicans may be running into recruiting troubles around the country, but Democrats are having no such problems. Case in point, the 2006 Senate race in Virginia. Quite a few people had hoped that Governor Mark Warner, the most popular politician in the state, would take on Senator George Allen. However, that brought up interesting questions about whether Warner could run for Senate in 2006 and then turn around to run for President in 2008. So the speculation turned to Secretary of the Navy under President Reagan, James Webb. But as Matt pointed out earlier, it seems the Virginia Democrats have gone in a slightly different direction with Harris Miller.

WTOP Radio has learned Harris Miller will challenge Republican incumbent George Allen in November.

Miller, an activist in Fairfax County, will formally announce his candidacy next week. He describes himself as "a shorter, and poorer version of {Governor) Mark Warner."

The 54-year-old McLean resident is currently the President of the Information Technology Association of America. He wants to see more done by the Federal government.

"I'm not satisfied with what I'm seeing done in Washington in terms of preparing our country for the future."

Picking Miller is interesting on a number of levels. First of all, as Chris pointed out back in November, finding a challenger for Allen was one of the few remaining recruiting priorities for the Democrats. That Miller is reportedly running with the backing of Mark Warner confirms that, since he has no interest in the 2006 Senate race, he's definitely running for President in 2008. And of course, since George Allen is also often mentioned as a likely 2008 contender, it's extremely important that he faces a strong challenge for re-election to his Senate seat.

Personally, it's quite encouraging for me to see that Miller will be championing forward-thinking economic development as a key campaign theme. Governor-elect Jon Corzine was successful here in New Jersey with a similar pitch and I generally think it's a very smart idea to tie progressive policy and economic development together as one political issue. Moving into the future, positioning the Democratic Party as the party of progress running against the Republican Luddites should pay real dividends.

UPDATE: There is still a lot of support for James Webb in the comments. I've heard some discomfort with the fact that Webb's a former Republican, but in Virginia, I'd imagine that helps more than hurts. And it doesn't seem to me that there's much question about Webb's loyalty to the Democratic Party. A Webb/Miller primary in Virginia seems like it would be pretty interesting.

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