Big names, big rallies, frantic finish to '12 race

Associated Press Published: November 4, 2012

On the campaign's penultimate evening, Allen sat in the party's victory headquarters in Newport News, the fatigue clear in his eyes and voice, just before he left to join Romney at the rally a few miles away.

The Senate campaign between Allen and Kaine, two former governors, has been hard and sometimes nasty. It has attracted more than $50 million from independent, outside organizations — most of it for highly negative advertising that make dubious or false claims. It's the most outside money spent in any Senate race in the nation, and about $30 million of it has gone to benefit Allen or oppose Kaine.

Most of the groups are nonprofit social welfare advocacy groups that don't identify the wealthy benefactors who demand anonymity in return for their millions of dollars in funding.

But even as bruising as this campaign has been, it has not been as personally difficult for Allen as the 2006 race when he lost re-election to his Senate seat to Democrat Jim Webb. That year, he battled George W. Bush's deeply unpopular Republican White House and a war going badly in Iraq, and his own blunders, particularly applying the term "macaca" to an American-born Webb campaign volunteer of Indian descent.

Kaine has attacked Allen as a bare-knuckled partisan, and Allen reciprocated by noting the two years Kaine served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, but the campaign steered clear of Allen's embarrassing moments from six years ago. It has been an afterthought at best in media coverage, not the drumbeat it was six years ago.

"Tim and I, we have very strong, different views, obviously on taxes, on energy policy, on the sequestration deal, the health care tax law," Allen said. "But for the most part, I think it's been on issues — what stands you take, what side are you on, and where would you vote."