George Allen,

Republican senator from Virginia, was cruising toward reelection to a second term until he made a series of missteps in the late summer and early fall. In August, he referred to a Democratic campaign volunteer of Indian descent as a “macaca,” a slur against African immigrants. News accounts later reported that he once hung a Confederate flag at his home and hung a noose from a tree in his law office. Allen dug himself deeper into a hole in September; after recently learning from his mother she is Jewish, he denied the fact to a reporter. When he finally admitted that his maternal grandparents were Jews, he said, “I still had a ham sandwich for lunch.” Allen was defeated by former secretary of the navy James H. Webb by a slim margin in the November election.