Presidential contests tend to overshadow everything else on the ballot. But a handful of potential 2012 matchups already have blockbuster appeal — marquee pairings that could steal the thunder of even the White House race and satisfy the most insatiable of political junkies.
Here are POLITICO’s seven 2012 dream races.
1. Tim Kaine vs. George Allen
It’s the stuff politics-watchers’ dreams are made of: a rare matchup between two political giants with statewide and national experience. Both are former Virginia governors; one is a former Democratic National Committee chairman and a loyal ally to the president; the other, a former U.S. senator attempting to rehabilitate his tarnished image by reclaiming his old seat. Both were once considered contenders for a national ticket, which means the prospect can’t be completely washed from their minds in the future — especially for the winner. “It’s epic because it’s two former governors, leaders of their parties, each have universal name ID and both are well established among their respective bases. Races pitting two heavyweights of this magnitude don’t happen every day,” said Chris LaCivita, a consultant on Allen’s 2006 campaign.
The likelihood: Very likely. Kaine, for his part, should have a smooth path to the nomination. While at least four Republicans are attempting to flank Allen on the right, the crowded opposition only enhances his chances of surviving tea party angst.