WASHINGTON -- Virginia's U.S. Senate race just got a little more interesting.
For months, it's been expected that former U.S. Sen. George Allen (R) would face off against former Gov. Tim Kaine (D) for the seat of retiring Jim Webb (D). But the Republican primary field just got a new high-profile contender: Del. Bob Marshall of Prince William County.
As the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Thursday, the conservative legislator confirmed that he would throw his hat into the ring and said an announcement would be coming soon, though no date has been set.
Three other Republicans are in the running, including tea party activist Jamie Radtke.
While a crowded GOP field could help divide the nomination race in favor of Allen, who is a former governor, Marshall is considered a strong contender, and nearly derailed former Gov. Jim Gilmore's Senate chances during the 2008 state Republican convention. Gilmore squeaked by with less than 70 votes but ultimately lost during that year's general election to former Gov. Mark Warner (D).As the Hotline On Call points out, Marshall's entrance creates a "headache" for Allen:
[Marshall] is one of the state's leading opponents against the federal health care reform law, won a state Supreme Court challenge against the funding of a transportation bill, and sponsored the constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2006 barring same-sex marriages and civil unions in Virginia.