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Democrats nominate ex-Republican

Wed., June 14, 2006

RICHMOND, Va. – James Webb, a former Reagan administration Navy secretary who left the Republican Party over the Iraq war, won the Democratic nomination Tuesday for the right to take on GOP Sen. George Allen in the fall.

Webb defeated lobbyist and longtime Democratic Party activist Harris Miller after a bruising primary in which voters decided between a traditional and unabashed liberal (Miller) and a former Republican (Webb) whose populist campaign was aimed at so-called Reagan Democrats – namely, rural, white moderates.

With nearly all precincts reporting, Webb had 82,513 votes, or 53.5 percent, compared with 71,856 votes, or 46.5 percent, for Miller. Except for the Washington suburbs, turnout was low across Virginia, a state unaccustomed to primaries. The last Democratic Senate primary was in 1994.

Allen is seeking a second term and also pursuing a 2008 bid for president. He had no GOP challenger.


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