Former Virginia Sen. George Allen lost his seat to Jim Webb and decided not to run for governor in 2009.
Some may already view Republican George Allen as the presumptive nominee in Virginia's 2012 Senate race, but he'll now have to face off against his GOP challengers before the June primary.
On Friday, the Republican Party of Virginia announced it would sponsor three debates next spring. Today, Allen announced he'll participate in all three, giving his lesser-known opponents a shot at the frontrunner.
The debates will be held in April and May. The northern Virginia debate will take place in the first week of May. One Allen challenger -- businessman Tim Donner -- has also already agreed to take part in the debates.
The other GOP contenders are tea party leader Jamie Radtke, Chesapeake minister E.W. Jackson and lawyer David McCormick.