“Now, George Allen, he was part of the problem,’’ Radtke said. “He voted for every single spending bill, adding $3 trillion to the national debt. . . . We can’t continue on this path.”
Marshall also criticized Allen, saying that as governor Allen tried to spend nearly $150 million on transportation improvements to lure Disney for a history theme park. The park was not built.
“I call it corporate welfare. Other people call it economic development,’’ Marshall said to audience laughter.
For the most part, Allen did not respond directly to the criticisms. Instead, he relied on his stump speech, reiterating the need for new energy sources, smaller government and less regulation.
“This election is about setting the course of America’s comeback,’’ he said. “My friends, if you want to see a renaissance of freedom and opportunity, then I respectfully ask for you to help us and join.’’
With just four weeks remaining before the June 12 primary, it becomes increasingly difficult for any other candidate to beat Allen, who has name recognition and millions of dollars in campaign coffers.
A Washington Post poll released this week showed Allen getting 62 percent of the vote among likely GOP primary voters. Marshall was next with 12 percent, and Radtke and Jackson had 5 and 3 percent, respectively.
The winner of the primary will face former governor Timothy M. Kaine, who faces no opposition for the Democratic Senate nomination in a race that is expected to help determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate. The seat is being vacated by retiring Sen. James Webb (D).
The second debate of the Senate Republican primary, held in a Virginia Beach waterfront hotel, took place on a Friday night before graduations and Mother’s Day weekend, and it was not televised. About 500 attended, and the organizer, the Republican Party of Virginia, streamed the event live.
The hour-long debate focused almost solely on jobs and the economy, with questions about spending, regulations and contracting. Moderator Nicole Riley, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, moderated a panel comprised of Virginia business owners.
Allen spent most of his time criticizing Kaine for supporting increased spending and chastised him for serving as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He told the audience that while he froze college tuition as the state’s chief executive, Kaine increased it by 33 percent.
But Allen did take a moment to defend himself, saying he supported a balanced-budget amendment and a line-item veto.