Its a long way to go for both guys to get the nominations of both their parties but its clear George Allen and Tim Kaine are the heavyweights in their respect parties for the 2012 US Senate race. Kaine, current DNC chairman, is basically waiting for Barack Obama to ask him to run so he can with his official backing. And I have no doubt he will win, and he will run with the backing of the DPVA establishment led by Brian Moran. I'm hearing rumblings that to ensure Kaine is the nominee, the Democrats want to go with a convention in 2012 to nominate him. Its funny how Republicans have gone the opposite direction and George Allen seems to be embracing the chance to prove himself again by taking on all comers while Kaine seems to be gaming the system throguh Moran to make sure potential upstarts like Periello or Petersen don't catch fire.
What Kaine's entry into this race will do is make it a completely national race, and I believe the winner will be of the party that wins Virignia in the 2012 presidential election. Gov. Kaine is so closely identified with Preisdent Obama - he's his DNC chair, was the first sitting govenror to endorse Obama, and almost got the VP slot. Kaine will have the Obama colors on him more than any other Senate candidate in the country. Allen, on the other hand, should he get the nomination will represent the conservative revolt against everything Obama has stood for as president.
Both carry their own baggage. Allen will eventually have to deal with the demons that brought him down in 2006, while Kaine has to deal with the fact that he had a largely lackluster tenure as govenror, and many Democrats in Northern Virginia just aren't wild about him anymore. Reading some of the Dem blogs out there, the grassroots seem restless and I'm sure they'll get behind Kaine and Obama but I'm not sure he won't get bloodied in a primary/convention. The excitement among the grassroots seems to be with Tom Periello.
Both men represent the old guard in their parties, and both men are trying transform from the politics of the past and reshape themselves in this new Obama/Tea Party Age. But if it does end up Kaine vs. Allen, I do think the winner will be the same party that wins Virginia's electoral votes. Whoever is at the top of the ticket will have a gigantic impact on this race.