George Felix Allen (born March 8, 1952) is a former Republican United States Senator from the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the son of former NFL head coach George Allen. Allen served Virginia in the state legislature, as Governor, and in both bodies of the U.S. Congress. Allen lost his 2006 bid for re-election to Democrat Jim Webb. Allen presently serves on the Reagan Ranch Board of Governors of Young America's Foundation where he is a Reagan Ranch Presidential Scholar.
Allen attended the University of California, Los Angeles, for a year before transferring to the University of Virginia, in 1971, where he received a B.A. degree with distinction in history in 1974. He was class president in his senior year at UVA.
After graduating, Allen completed a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1977. In 1976 he was the chairman of the "Young Virginians for Ronald Reagan". Allen was a supporter of Richard Nixon and the Vietnam War, although he did not serve in that conflict, taking a student deferment instead.
Allen is a member of the Presbyterian Church. He is fond of using football metaphors, a tendency that has been remarked upon by journalists and commentators. Allen has been chewing tobacco since he was introduced to it in high school by his father's football players.
Allen's career in the House was short-lived. In the 1990s round of redistricting, Allen's district, which stretched from the fringes of the Washington suburbs to Charlottesville and included much of the Shenandoah Valley, was eliminated even though Virginia gained a congressional seat as a result of the 1990 Census. This was because of the Justice Department's mandate to create a black-majority district in accordance with the Voting Rights Act.
The 7th, which had been the home district of the Byrd family dynasty, was split among three neighboring districts. While his home in Earlysville was placed in the 5th District of Lewis F. Payne, Jr., most of his district was placed in the 10th District of Frank Wolf. Allen moved to Mount Vernon and prepared to challenge Wolf in a primary. However, he bowed out of the primary a short time later; state Republican leaders had let it be known that he could not expect any support for his planned run for governor in 1993 if he made such a challenge.
In November 1993, Allen was elected the 67th Governor of Virginia, serving from 1994 to 1998. His opponent in the 1993 election, Attorney General Mary Sue Terry, had an early 29-point lead in public opinion polls and a million-dollar fundraising advantage. However, Allen struck a hot button with voters across party and racial lines with his campaign proposal to abolish parole. This response to a surge of crime in the state connected with voters, in contrast to Terry's proposal to increase gun control as a remedy. Allen overcame the deficit and won with 58.3% of the vote, the largest margin (+17.4 points) since Albertis S. Harrison Jr. defeated H. Clyde Pearson with a margin of +27.7 points in 1961.
Allen could not run for re-election because Virginia's constitution does not allow a governor to succeed himself; as of 2007 Virginia is the only state that has such a provision.
Allen made almost no money from the stock, according to his communications director, John Reid. According to the Associated Press, Allen steered compensation from his board service, other than stock options, to his law firm. He was granted options worth $1.5 million at their peak. Allen listed them on his disclosure forms for 2002 and 2003, but never exercised them.
Commonwealth granted Allen options on 15,000 shares of company stock at $7.50 a share in May 1999. Allen steered other compensation from his board service to his law firm, McGuire Woods. As of late 2006, Allen had not cashed in any options; the stock as of that date was well under $5 per share, making the options valueless for the moment. Commonwealth reported its first full year of profitability in 2005.
Allen was appointed in the last Congress to serve as the chairman of the High Tech Task Force. Allen was elected as a member of the Senate Republican leadership as Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 2002, and oversaw a net gain of four seats for the Republicans in the 2004 Senate elections. His successor as NRSC chair was Senator Elizabeth Dole. Dole was chairman of the NRSC in 2006, when Allen was defeated for re-election by Jim Webb.
Below are some bills that Allen introduced or authored in the Senate
While serving in the Senate, Allen played a minor role as a Confederate officer in the 2003 film Gods and Generals, a movie that included many cameos of politicians such as Senator Robert Byrd and former Senator Phil Gramm His role included singing "The Bonnie Blue Flag" (Video) with this refrain:
While the Virginia State Board of Elections still withheld its certification of the election results as of nightfall on November 8, Allen appeared in the initial count to fall short of winning re-election. Webb held a lead of approximately a third of a percent 8,805 votes for most of November 8; by the afternoon, he had named a transition team to plan the staffing of his Senate office. On November 9, 2006, Senator Allen held a press conference in Alexandria, announcing he had conceded the race to challenger James Webb, and would not seek a recount, even though he was legally entitled to do so, and even though recounts in Virginia typically overturn as many as a few hundred votes
On August 11, 2006, at a campaign stop in Breaks, Virginia, near the Kentucky border, Allen twice used the word macaca to refer to S.R. Sidarth, an Indian-American, who was filming the event as a "tracker" for the opposing Webb campaign. Macaca means "monkey" and is commonly understood as a racial slur; it is generally used in francophone African nations, which led to speculation that Allen may have heard the epithet from his mother, a Francophone who grew up in French-colonial Tunisia. Allen apologized and later said that he did not know the meaning of the word. In 2008, The Washington Post speculated that, were it not for this single utterance, Allen would have been a strong candidate for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination.
On August 25, 2006, the Jewish periodical The Forward reported that in all likelihood, Allen's mother Etty Allen, née Henrietta Lumbroso, was Jewish. At a debate on September 18, 2006, WUSA-TV reporter Peggy Fox noted to Allen, "It has been reported that your grandfather Felix, whom you were given your middle name for, was Jewish." Fox went on to ask, "Could you please tell us whether your forebearers include Jews, and if so, at which point Jewish identity might have ended?" Allen's indignant response, criticizing Fox for "making aspersions", attracted the attention of the national press, prompting speculation that he wanted to conceal any Jewish ancestry. The next day, Allen issued a statement confirming his mother's Jewish ancestry. Allen said his mother feared retribution against her family if her religious and ethnic background became public, and had originally asked Allen to keep that information private.
Allegedly, Allen has displayed the Confederate flag, in some way, from 1967 to 2000. Allen wore a Confederate flag pin for his high school senior class photo. He displayed a Confederate flag in his family's living room until 1992. Allen has stated that the flag was a part of a collection of flags. In 1993, Allen's first statewide TV campaign ad for governor included a Confederate flag. Greg Stevens, the political consultant who made the 1993 TV ad, confirmed its inclusion. Allen has confirmed that the pin in his high school yearbook was a Confederate flag. Allen has said "it is possible" that he had a Confederate flag on his car in high school.
Minority groups, especially African-Americans, in Virginia criticized Allen for his policies and his embrace of the Confederate flag, which the NAACP condemns as a symbol of racism and hate. Allen also opposed a state holiday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. The state holiday in favor of Martin Luther King Jr. was initially attached to Lee-Jackson day, a day honoring Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. There was much controversy in Virginia about combining the days. Governor Jim Gilmore proposed splitting the days into a Lee-Jackson Day and a Martin Luther King day.
In 1995, 1996, and 1997, Allen proclaimed April as Confederate History and Heritage Month and called the Civil War "a four-year struggle for independence and sovereign rights. The proclamation did not mention slavery, and his successor, Republican Governor James Gilmore, changed the proclamation and wrote a version that denounced slavery.
In May 2006, Richard qualified some of the claims made in the book. With regards to the pool cue incident, she claimed it was a joke and that "Allen was simply testing her boyfriend's reflexes." With regards to the dentist quote, Jennifer claims that the book was a "novelization of the past" and written from the perspective of a young girl "surrounded by older brothers and a larger-than-life father." She claims to have a great relationship with her brother and noted that Allen stepped in for their father to walk her down the aisle at her wedding.
In a survey of 175 Washington insiders by National Journal, released in April 2005, Allen was the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for the 2008 presidential election. In an insider survey by National Journal a year later, in May 2006, Allen had dropped to second place, and John McCain held a 3-to-1 lead over Allen.
After the November 2006 election, it was widely assumed that Allen was no longer a viable candidate for the Republican nomination, principally because of the damage caused by the incidents that caused his double-digit lead in the polls to turn to a narrow defeat that contributed to the Republicans' loss of control of the Senate.
In October 2007, the campaign of GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson announced that Allen was one of three national co-chairs for the campaign. That month, Allen declined to speculate on his political future. Commenting on the 2009 governor's race in Virginia, Allen not only said that he had made no decisions but that "Susan and I have listened to a lot of people encouraging us to do that. On January 10, 2008, Allen said that he would not run for governor in 2009.