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Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 11/19/2010

Another Va. Republican mulls 2012 U.S. Senate bid

By Anita Kumar
Anita Kumar

As Republican activists decide this weekend whether their party's 2012 U.S. Senate nominee should be chosen by primary or convention, we hear another candidate is considering jumping into the race.

Bert Mizusawa, a businessman, attorney and retired army general who ran against now Congressman-elect Scott Rigell in the primary for the Hampton Roads area seat, says he is thinking about running after being encouraged by fellow Republicans.

At least three other Republicans are interested in running against Democrat Sen. Jim Webb -- if he seeks reelection: former senator George Allen; Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors; and Del. Bob Marshall (Prince William).

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) told The Hotline in an interview while attending the Republican Governors Association this week that he believes Allen will run.

"He's got a great story to tell and he loves being involved in the political process, and he's got great charisma," McDonnell said. "He wants to serve again. So it would not surprise me at all to see him back in the hunt here."

The Republican State Central Committee will vote on a slew of proposals -- including whether to have a convention or a primary -- at the annual GOP Advance in McLean, which starts today.

Historically, conventions almost always produce the most conservative candidate. But efforts to appeal to party activists can create complications for the eventual nominee, who has to run in all regions of the state, including left-leaning Northern Virginia.

Stewart, who plans to seek reelection next year as county chairman, said he favors a convention.

Marshall, who nearly defeated former governor Jim Gilmore for the Senate nomination at the 2008 convention, said he favors a primary because conventions leave too many opportunities for errors.

Allen has declined to talk to us about the topic but he would probably favor a primary. As a former governor and senator, he would be able to amass more money for an eventual run.

Mizusawa didn't exactly says he favors a convention -- but that's what it sounds like. "The party should choose the method most likely to nominate the most electable conservative candidate to help Republicans win a majority in the Senate in 2012, and one who will best serve the future of Virginia and the nation," he says.

Past efforts to replace conventions with primaries in Virginia have failed because many members of the party say they fear that Democrats and independents would cross party lines in an attempt to influence the outcome of their primary.

By Anita Kumar  | November 19, 2010; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Bill Bolling, Corey Stewart, Election 2012, George F. Allen, James Webb, Robert F. McDonnell, U.S. Senate  
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