Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie plans to formally challenge Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) as early as next week, according to The New York Times.
Gillespie, now a lobbyist, had previously strongly hinted that he would challenge Warner, who has amassed an impressive $7.1 million war chest for his re-election.
Gillespie is considered a top-tier candidate among the potential Republican bench but still, it is likely an upward battle for him to defeat Warner.
A September Quinnipiac poll found Warner with 61 percent job approval and 22 percent disapproval. Even 52 percent of Republicans in the poll approved of the job he’s doing as senator.
According to the Times, Gillespie doesn’t seem to be planning to run a tea party-style campaign. Instead he’ll try run shake off a number of high profile GOP losses in 2013 including for the governor’s office and attorney general. But to do that, Gillespie will have to win over tea partiers and far-right voters in the state that are skeptical of his candidacy because he was a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform. Gillespie is conservative on a number of other issues though, including abortion.