The A-Team Is Ready
The recent hiring of former RNC Chair Ed Gillespie to be the treasurer George Allen's PAC has raised a lot of eyebrows among '08 watchers. Over at South of the James, Conway says that the move is already paying off dividends in the key state of Iowa.
However, Conway also reminds us that Allen must first navigate the '06 waters before he can completely turn his sights to '08. He does a good job looking at the lay of the land for this fall, specifically focusing on two figures that may have an impact on the election, Mark Warner and Jack Abramoff.
Harris Miller appears to be the Dem pick to face off against Allen and he appears to have the support of Mark Warner, which is certainly important. However the extent to which Miller can recast himself as a poor man's Mark Warner is a much larger question. Over at the Mason Conservative, Chris says that Allen is ready for Miller, and I agree. Chris points out the inherent differences between a Gubernatorial contest and a Senate race that will make it much harder for Miller to win than it was for Warner and Kaine.
Believe you me, George Allen understands the importance of this year's election. That is why he has people like Ed Gillespie to keep the '08 fires burning while he concentrates on getting re-elected. If Allen crosses the finish line weakly this November, his Presidential stock will be hurt. If however, he soundly defeats a strong challenger who boasts the backing of Mark Warner, his position will be strong headed into the '08 primary season.
I don't expect anything less than a total, focused effort from Allen this fall. Besides, the excitement of the '08 speculation will energize Virginia's Republicans and ensure that they come out in droves to get an early seat on the bandwagon.