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U.S. Chamber backs Allen for U.S. Senate

U.S. Senate candidate George Allen accepted the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s support in Fairfax last week, saying he’s “honored to have earned the very meaningful endorsement” of the group that represents three million businesses across the nation.

Allen, a former Virginia governor, is squaring off against Democrat Tim Kaine, another former governor, in one of the most closely watched contests in the country.

Although the U.S. Chamber tends to lean conservative, in 2008 the organization backed Virginia Democrat Mark Warner in his Senate bid. Allen spokeswoman Emily Davis was quick to point out this fact.

“This shows the chamber considers each candidate, and believes George Allen will put the country on the right path ,” Davis told the Times Community Media.

In the endorsement for Allen, U.S Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue said he believes the Republican’s election to the U.S. Senate “will help produce sustained economic growth, help create more jobs, and get our country back on track.”

Allen, in a prepared statement, said he and his wife Susan – who has stumped extensively for her husband— have “listened to the concerns of hardworking small business owners worried about a government that taxes without listening and regulates without understanding.

“We stand shoulder to shoulder with Virginia job creators who need lower taxes, reasonable regulations, and more affordable energy and health care to be able to grow and hire again,” Allen said.

The Kaine campaign acknowledged the endorsement by going on the offensive against Allen for his lack of support in last year’s resolution of the much-hyped debt-ceiling crisis. The U.S. Chamber, as well as a long list Republicans in Congress, supported the deal which in the end was credited with avoiding a U.S. credit default.

“The fact is both the U.S. Chamber and Tim Kaine endorsed a bipartisan compromise, negotiated by Virginia leader Eric Cantor and supported by Gov. McDonnell, to prevent default,” said Kaine spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine. “George Allen may think it’s appropriate to attack Tim Kaine for that position on a Tuesday and then buddy-up to the chamber on a Wednesday, but Virginians expect more from their leaders than using national defense and Virginia jobs to score political points.”

Hoffine said via email the endorsement is a “bit surprising” considering Kaine’s opponent has been attacking the chamber’s support of last summer’s deal.

“It’s awkward timing to say the least, coming just 24 hours after George Allen’s campaign took to the airwaves to blast the Chamber’s position, accusing them of harming jobs in Virginia …,” she said.

The Kaine campaign was also quick to note that both the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce do not plan to endorse a candidate in the high-profile Senate contest.

Responding the Kaine campaign’s comments, Davis said Allen didn’t support the debt-ceiling compromise because it didn’t include a balanced-budget amendment, which is part of the reason the economy “is in this mess in the first place.”
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