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George Allen Announces Senate Bid (VIDEO)

Updated: 1:09 p.m.

Former Sen. George Allen announced Monday he is running for his former seat, just more than four years after being ousted by Democrat Jim Webb.

“Today, I’m announcing my candidacy for the U.S. Senate,” Allen said in a video released on his campaign website. “You know me as someone willing to fight for the people of Virginia, and I’d like the responsibility to fight for you again. Hire me on for six years, and I pledge to work hard restoring freedom, personal responsibility and opportunity for all.”

A map on his website illustrates the extensive travel and outreach Allen has done on behalf of Virginia Republicans over the past several months. Republicans in the state have noted Allen’s omnipresence around the state in the runup to the midterm elections.

Webb has not said if he will run for re-election, but former Virgina Gov. Tim Kaine said last week that he expects the first-term Senator to run again. If he does not, Democrats could have difficulty finding a top-tier candidate to replace him on the ballot.

Kaine, who would fit that bill, insisted he will continue to serve as chairman of the Democratic National Committee even if Webb declines to run.

Allen must first get through what could be a crowded primary that is expected to include Richmond Tea Party President Jamie Radtke, state Del. Bob Marshall and Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors. (Radtke, a tea party leader, served as Allen’s receptionist when he was governor.)

Allen is likely to be considered the favorite for the nomination.

Webb’s 2006 campaign was known for its shoestring budget and Webb driving himself around the state in an old Jeep. But everything changed when Allen referred to an Indian-American Webb campaign volunteer who had been tracking him with a camera as “macaca.” Polling began moving in Webb’s favor, and he pulled off a slim victory.

A Webb-Allen rematch would be one of the most high-profile races in the country and could be the only one among the vaunted Democratic class of 2006. In his campaign announcement video, Allen noted that this is his chance for retribution.

“The pivotal elections coming up in 2012 are going to determine the trajectory of our country, whether the opportunity to achieve the American dream will continue to decline or begin to ascend again,” Allen said. “Friends, it’s time for an American comeback.”

Roll Call Politics rates this race a Tossup.

Watch the announcement video:

For more from our At the Races politics blog, click here.

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