, 107th Congress
; elected 7 November 2000.
What StormHunter neglects to mention is that this "stereotypical redneck politician" is probably the most popular governor in recent Virginia history. Among state politicians, his popularity is exceeded only by Senator John Warner, who was powerful enough to refuse to support his own party's candidate in the 1994 Senate race -- probably smart, since that candidate was Oliver North -- and still got re-elected easily the next time around.
Allen is a lawyer and former backup quarterback for University of Virginia (his father, also named George Allen, was a legendary coach of the Washington Redskins). He served several terms in the U.S. House of Representatives before Democrats in the Virginia General Assembly gerrymandered the new post-1990 Census Congressional districts so his home would be in the same district as popular Representative Tom Bliley, in order to eliminate one sure Republican seat. This backfired on them, as Allen, who before had been fairly unknown statewide, ran for governor in 1993 and destroyed Attorney General Mary Sue Terry in a come-from-behind win focusing mainly on populist issues. He aggravated state workers by mass firings of patronage workers from years of Democratic administrations, but at the same time kept several appointees from the previous Douglas Wilder administration who had shown skills and willingness to adapt.
Although he was hugely popular by the end of his term, Virginia does not allow governors to serve consecutive terms, so he had to cede the throne to Attorney General Jim Gilmore in 1997 (another blowout win, this time over Democratic Lieutenant Governor Don Beyer).
He does portray a down-home image -- wears cowboy boots, chews tobacco, etc. Do not underestimate Allen because of this, though -- he is an extremely shrewd political operator. The only things that kept Chuck Robb afloat in the 2000 Senate race against him are incumbent advantage and new voters who were not Virginia residents during Allen's term as governor, and therefore don't remember the successes the state had under him. Well, them and yellow-dog Democrats.