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Tea Party Candidate Announces Senate Run in Virginia

Jamie Radtke, a Richmond area mother of three and chairwoman of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots has filed to run for the Virginia Republican Senate nomination, seeking the seat currently held by Senator Jim Webb (D-VA).

Radtke says she'll run to protect her children from debt, taxes and a federal government that she claims is guilty of "reckless and immoral spending."

"Unfortunately, the politicians in D.C. have made it abundantly clear by their actions that protecting their own interests is more important than protecting the interests of our children, and they have mutated the U.S. government into a giant, self-serving entity," she said.

Both of Virginia's current U.S. senators are Democrats, and the state voted for Barack Obama by a narrow margin in the 2008 presidential election. However in 2009, the state elected conservative Republican Bob McDonnell as governor and three congressional seats switched from Democratic to Republican control in the 2010 midterms.

"On every level voters supported candidates who favored cutting deficit spending and less government," Radtke said. "This is the message that resonates in Virginia."

But Radtke could face a tough race for the Republican nomination.

Former governor and senator, George Allen, has expressed interest in running for the seat he lost to Webb in 2006, and an Allen-Radtke race could be polarizing within Virginia's Republican Party. Allen has many longtime supporters in the Old Dominion but some in the Tea Party point to his stint in the Senate, saying he is partly responsible for uncontrolled spending and the ballooning national debt.

Both issues are at the top of Radtke's agenda, and she says debating them is good for Virginia Republicans.

"In the Senate George Allen voted for over 40,000 earmarks costing over $90 billion," she said. "But those are issues that need to be debated. And I don't think that is harmful. Debates over issues are a sign of strength - not weakness - in our party."

Democratic incumbent Senator Jim Webb has not confirmed whether he'll run for reelection in 2012.