The Washington Times - January 10, 2012, 11:24AM

George Allen, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate seat in Virginia, brought in more than $1 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 and will report more than $4.5 million raised and $2 million cash on hand heading into 2012, his campaign announced Tuesday.

Mr. Allen, the party’s frontrunner in the contest to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Jim Webb, slightly boosted his cash on hand from $1.8 million at the end of the third quarter. During that quarter, he raised a little bit over $900,000.

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Tim Kaine, the top Democratic candidate, has $2.55 million on hand going into the last quarter of the year, though he started his campaign about three months after Mr. Allen.

Numbers for the most recent reporting period for Mr. Kaine weren’t yet available, according to a spokeswoman. But experts predict the race, one of about a dozen that will determine which party controls the Senate next year, could be among the most expensive in history. Democrats currently hold a 53-47 advantage in the chamber, counting two independents who caucus with them.

Mr. Allen is far outpacing his Republican rivals in fundraising. Tea Party leader Jamie Radtke reported $43,163 in cash on hand and more than $85,000 in debt at the end of the third quarter, Chesapeake Bishop E.W. Jackson had $6,758, and Hampton Roads lawyer David McCormick reported $194,124 in cash on hand, but $255,000 in debt. Northern Virginia television mogul Tim Donner recently dropped out of the race.

Virginia Delegate Robert G. Marshall, Prince William Republican, has hinted recently that he is strongly considering jumping into the race. Mr. Marshall would present Mr. Allen with a foe who is a staunch social conservative with instant, statewide name recognition. He narrowly lost to former Gov. Jim Gilmore for the Senate nomination at the 2008 state GOP convention.

The Republican Party of Virginia has announced three GOP primary debates open to all the candidates who qualify for the June 12 ballot.