01/12/2012 06:21 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

2012 Elections: Bob Marshall To Challenge George Allen In Virginia Senate Race

Former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) will face another primary challenger in the U.S. Senate race in Virginia, and this one could cause problems for him Allen, who up until now has been the Republican party's presumed nominee.

State Delegate Bob Marshall confirmed he would make a bid for the GOP nomination, telling the Richmond Times-Dispatch he would make the announcement "soon."

Marshall is a social conservative with a strong ties in the Republican party. He made a bid for U.S. Senate in 2008 and narrowly lost the GOP nomination to former Gov. Jim Gilmore.

From The Hill:

Marshall's entrance will make a pivot to the center harder for Allen. He is a hard-line social conservative whose near-win at the 2008 state convention helped him build connections with party activists.

It is unlikely Marshall will be able to catch the well-known and well-funded Allen, but the former senator has already agreed to three primary debates, creating the possibility that he could slip up against his competition.

Marshall will also force Allen to talk more about social issues, a topic he has largely tried to avoid on the campaign trail as he focuses on the economy.

Marshall's entrance is good news for Democrats. The senate race in Virginia is expected to be one of the closest in the nation and one of determining contests in the battle to win control of the chamber. Allen and former Gov. Tim Kaine, the presumptive Democratic nominee, have been neck-and-neck in the polls and already participated in a feisty, general election-style debate. A split GOP primary could weaken Allen just enough to boost Kaine into the lead.

Tea Party activist Jamie Radtke and two others are also running against Allen, but Marshall is considered to be the most formidable challenger.

A Primary Challenge In Nevada, Too

Rep. Shelley Berkley (D), who is hoping to oust incumbent Sen. Dean Heller (R) in Nevada, is also looking at a new primary challenger. Barry Ellsworth, a well-funded businessman, will be vying for the state's Democratic nomination, the Las Vegas Sun reports.

Berkley told the Las Vegas Review Journal she's not worried. "It doesn't bother me at all," she said. "This is a democracy. Anyone can run who wants to. ... I'm highlighting the differences between Dean Heller and myself."

Elsworth, a Mormon, is the founder of a renewable energy company in Nevada.

Richard Lugar Called Out For George Soros Funds

Indiana State Treasurer Richard Murdock (R) is lambasting Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) for accepting a campaign donation from liberal billionaire George Soros. The Tea Party-backed candidate is challenging Lugar for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate. Murdock is using the contribution to attack Lugar's conservatism, and calling on the senator to "divest himself of this money with interest."

Crossroads GPS Already After Bob Kerrey

Just days after the news hit that Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) was considering running (emphasis on considering) for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Ben Nelson (D), Crossroads GPS had a video ad out attacking the potential candidate. Watch below:

Democrats are fighting to hold onto the seat in the battleground state -- a fight that got considerably harder when Nelson announced he would not be seeking reelection.

Watch Out, Elizabeth Warren