Update: here’s Webb’s response yesterday to Lambert’s endorsement. It’s a statement about Allen’s cutting funds to HBCUs but doesn’t for some strange reason refer to all the overwhelming support Webb has in the African-American community and the outreach he’s done. Wonder why?

If you take another look at the George Allen homepage you’ll see that he can now claim a choice endorsement from an influential Virginia state senator who happens to be an African-American Democrat — Benjamin “Benny” Lambert. The Allen campaign released a statement yesterday with the news. He’s an optometrist by trade and an Omega Psi Phi. Benny backed Harris Miller during the Democratic primary along with several other black leading politicians. It seems Webb has been unable to mend fences with Lambert and it’s rumored, many other black legislators who should be helping him get out the vote.

Whose fault is this? I have to lay it at Webb’s door. I hear a lot of excuses from white progressives, but ultimately if blacks feel that they have to choose between a vicious racist and a slightly less vicious racist, they are likely to stay home. And in a close Senate race, that’s bad news for Democrats who’d like to see Allen booted out of office. Webb needs to work now and hard to earn the trust of Black leaders to win in Virginia. The question is whether he is willing to hold a few ethnic rallies of his own, I suppose.

What’s up with Webb? Well for starters, check out a speech still available on his personal site at the Confederate Memorial that brags about the use of variations of “Robert E. Lee” as a family name and family members who fought with Nathan Bedford Forrest (founder of the KKK). There are some mixed and coded messages there that raise Black sensitivities.

Lambert is influential within his circles. Why he chose Allen over Webb and crossed party lines is beyond me. It looks on the surface a bit Uncle-Tommish. If I had to guess, though, it might have something to do with Webb’s vacillating on affirmative action and perhaps a private or public promise from Allen to spend more money on VA HBCUs. Check out this past blog post (Virginia Beach Dems) that provides some history on how some African-American VA leaders felt about Webb during the primary.

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