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Senate race heats up in Va.

Sunday - 5/13/2012, 1:18pm  ET

WASHINGTON - A key race in the battle over control of the U.S. Senate is heating up, with all sides digging deep to get an advantage.

Republican George Allen and Democrat Tim Kaine have been locked in a tight battle and the latest polls show them dead even. But Allen, who faces several challengers in the June 12 GOP primary, has been taking a heavy hit from the right on his voting record.

During a debate this past week, Allen's opponents focused on congressional earmarks that were common in Congress until recently. Tea Party backed candidate Jamie Radke has been focusing on 40,000 earmarks that he says Allen voted for while in the Senate.

The Washington Examiner reports Virginia's congressional delegation secured more than 1,000 earmarks worth about $1 billion during Allen's term. However, there's no disclosure of who initiated them, according to the Examiner.

An Allen spokesperson says that number is misleading, noting that there was no ban on earmarks at that time.

WTOP's Hank Silverberg contributed to this report.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)