Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia has announced he will not be running for re-election in 2012. The GOP candidate is likely to be former Governor and Senator George Allen, whom Webb defeated in 2006. We don't know who the Democratic candidate will be, but I suspect we know his religion. Either former Governor Tim Kaine or former Congressman Tom Perriello are the two obvious choices to contest Allen and both are Roman Catholics.
Webb's announcement also permits us a window into the way washington political operatives think. The National Republican Senatorial Committee issued a statement begging for the Democrats to nominate Tim Kaine, whom it identifies as "President Obama's number one cheerleader in Washington." Funny, that is not how most Virginians think of the popular former Governor.
Perriello, even though he lost his re-election bid in Virginia's Fifth Congressional District, showed his ability to raise bucketloads of campaign cash. Running in a midterm, Perriello faced an uphill battle against an energized GOP base, and still only lost by a few thousand votes, but in a presidential election, sure to draw larger numbers of young voters and minorities, Perriello would stand a good chance.
If Kaine does run, Perriello would be a fine candidate to replace him at the DNC as well.