Graciously accepting defeat, Sen. George Allen (R) conceded to opponent (and now Senator-elect) Jim Webb (D) this afternoon. Allen, who trails Webb by roughly 9,000 votes, said he doesn't want to subject Virginians to a costly and lengthy recount, and does not expect that one would change the outcome of the election. Laden with football references, Allen's speech was also heavy on religion and faith. The NFL coach's son said he believes in a "purpose-driven life," and because he sees "no good purpose" in asking for a recount, he would sideline himself (that's our own football reference).
Allen was once a rising star in the GOP and was supposed to cruise to victory on Tuesday -- until a series of fumbles led to Webb's rise in the polls. The former Virginia governor and congressman was also an early conservative favorite in the race for president in 2008. Allen garnered the most votes in a presidential straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference last February. Just a few weeks later, he was asked if he would be willing to serve as vice president, to which he replied, "It's an important position, but that's not something that one normally aspires to." While comebacks are always possible in politics, Allen's hopes of obtaining the presidency have been crushed for now, as is any possibility that anyone would consider him for the number-two spot on a presidential ticket in 2008.
Webb, joined by Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine and Democratic Senate campaign committee chair Chuck Schumer, made remarks in Arlington just a short time ago, claiming victory and thanking supporters. But Webb quickly jumped from celebrating to getting serious. He called on President Bush to "publicly denounce" the "politics of divisiveness" that led up to Tuesday's election. Webb and Allen seem to be taking the first step forward in that department: Webb told the crowd that he and Allen have a lunch date next week.