Friday, April 29, 2011

Allen campaign adds social conservative Steve Waters

Cross-posted at the Washington Examiner....

The news on Wednesday that conservative activist Steve Waters, 46, of Richmond, will be joining the George Allen campaign on May 1 sent a ripple through the Virginia blogosphere.

Waters' hiring as the campaign's advisor on family policy issues emphasized Allen's seriousness about reaching out to social conservatives. As Washington Examiner colleague Norm Leahy noted, including that group of voters is a big deal for Virginia Republican candidates.

Allen, who was known as a conservative leader during his years as Governor and U.S. Senator, was instrumental in the passage of the bipartisan parental notification bill through the Virginia General Assembly that required physicians to notify at least one parent or guardian before performing an abortion. While in the U.S. Senate, Allen co-sponsored a partial-birth abortion bill and opposed federal monies for overseas organizations that funded abortions.

Waters, who has a long list of social conservative credentials including a stint at the Family Foundation and the Virginia Christian Coalition as well as his work to see the passage of the Marriage Amendment in 2006, will complement the conservative credentials of Allen.

Waters is perhaps best known as campaign manager for Del. Bob Marshall's 2008 U.S. Senate campaign when Marshall narrowly lost the Republican nomination to former Governor Jim Gilmore. He has been part of various conservative campaigns including Patrick Muldoon in 2009 when Muldoon challenged and lost the Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor against incumbent Bill Bolling.

Waters, reached at home Wednesday afternoon, was enthusiastic and said he was happy to be joining the Allen campaign. "George Allen," he told me, "led on social conservative issues in the past, and he has expressed a strong commitment to these issues for this campaign."

He added, "This race is critical at this time for our country. Do we need to have a senator in Virginia who is an extension of the Obama administration, or do we want to have a senator who's committed to Virginia values and the strengths and principles of our Republican Party."

Allen welcomed Waters to the campaign. In a released statement, he said, “Steve’s experience in organizing and educating grassroots activists will be valuable to our grassroots insurgency as we take our positive, motivating message to men and women throughout Virginia. Susan and I are grateful that Steve is joining as a leader on our team.”

The likely Democratic candidate will be Tim Kaine, a long-time supporter of President Barack Obama. National political pundits are already talking about the possible match-up between two former Virginia Governors if Allen wins the Republican nomination. If the Allen-Kaine race happens, Virginia will be considered one of the Top Eight 2012 races in the nation.

The field of challengers continues to grow with four opponents who have declared and possibly others on the sidelines. With the media exposure this race is expected to receive, unknowns who have little chance of winning the nomination will see it as an opportunity to get some name recognition for future endeavors.

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