ABC News’ Michael Falcone reports:
Virginia Republican George Allen, who lost his U.S. Senate bid in 2006 after uttering a racially insensitive remark about a member of his opponents’ staff, officially declared his candidacy to re-take his old seat on Monday.
Allen, who lost the 2006 race to Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., said in a video message to supporters that after four years away from public life, he wants the chance to serve them again.
“You know me as someone willing to fight for the people of Virginia, and I’d like the responsibility to fight for you again,” Allen said in the video. “Hire me on for six years and I pledge to work hard restoring freedom, personal responsibility and opportunity for all.”
Allen’s hopes of winning re-election to a second term in the Senate hit a speed bump late in the campaign when, at an event in Sept. 2006, he twice referred to a member of Webb’s staff of Indian descent as “macaca.” Allen directed the slur at Webb staffer S.R. Sidarth, who was videotaping the senator.
“This fellow here, over here with the yellow shirt, macaca, or whatever his name is. He's with my opponent. He’s following us around everywhere,” Allen said at the event.
Allen later offered an apology to Sidarth, but Webb narrowly defeated him in that November’s election. Webb has yet to declare whether he will run for a second term in 2012.
Allen, who also served as governor of Virginia during the 1990's, is not the only Republican to jump into the race. Tea Party candidate Jamie Radtke has already declared his candidacy, and others have also expressed interest in vying for the GOP nomination.
In the spot he released on Monday, Allen criticized “overspending” in Washington and promised to work to “repeal the government mandated healthcare plan, pass a balanced budget amendment and line-item veto, and reduce our families’ energy costs.”
“Many parents worry that the rising national debt will rob our children of future opportunities. And people are frustrated that Washington continues to ignore their views and values,” Allen said in a statement accompanying the video message. “The elections in 2012 will be pivotal in determining the trajectory of our country and if we will continue to decline or begin to ascend again.”
The “macaca” moment could continue to haunt Allen as he attempts to mount a political comeback. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee alluded to it in a statement responding to Allen’s announcement on Monday, but said it will “be the least of his worries.”
“Allen is a Republican establishment candidate who spent his years in Washington shilling for corporate interests, wildly spending taxpayer dollars, and racking up our national debt,” DSCC Communications Director Eric Schultz said. “We don't come across a lot of voters these days hungering for that type of experience.”
Watch Allen's announcement: