The Washington Times - November 14, 2011, 07:58PM

For someone like George Allen, who already has the funds, the record, and the name recognition for his 2012 U.S. Senate campaign, it would be understandable if he wasn’t exactly jumping at the chance to face his Republican rivals in the three GOP debates to be held next spring before the June primary.

But Mr. Allen will be there, his campaign said Monday, via a letter from campaign manager Mike Thomas to Pat Mullins, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia.

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“This upcoming 2012 election will be pivotal in determining the future of our country,” Mr. Thomas wrote. “George Allen believes it is essential for Republicans to discuss solutions to the important issues affecting Virginia families and businesses. We accept your invitation to continue that conversation in the three debates sponsored by the Republican Party of Virginia.”

Tea Party leader Jamie Radtke, who has been tweaking Mr. Allen from the right since she entered the race, had thrown down somewhat of a gauntlet, saying in October that she would debate him “anywhere, anytime.”

Last week, her campaign sent out a press release questioning whether Allen “will try to force the organizers of the debate to limit tough questions about his record, or whether he’ll find a way to skip these debates.”

Other Republican candidates for the nomination include Hampton Roads attorney David McCormick, Northern Virginia businessman Tim Donner and Chesapeake Bishop E.W. Jackson.

Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine is the likely nominee on the Democrats’ side for the seat of retiring Sen. Jim Webb, though Fairfax consultant Courtney Lynch and Restonian Julien Modica have also thrown their hats into the ring.