Virginia candidate George Allen once backed racially-insensitive state song

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Virginia Republican George Allen’s last Senatorial campaign was largely undone over his use of a racially-tinged insult — “macaca.” Now his embrace of a controversial state song is threatening to derail him.

While serving as a state legislator in the early 1990s, Allen reportedly fought to retain “Carry Me Back To Old Virginia” as the state’s song, despite its use of terms like “darkie” and “massa.”

There had been efforts to repeal song since 1970, and Allen himself bowed to public pressure and had the song struck down during his last year as governor in 1997.

“This song was written years ago and it was not written to offend anyone,” Allen said in a video released by The Huffington Post. “The issue that is before us is that the original words are now understandably offensive to some people. Though they were not intended to be.”

Allen has been running neck and neck with Democratic former governor Tim Kaine for the entire election season. The winner of the seat will play a crucial role in deciding which party controls the Senate for the next two years.