(CNN) – Former U.S. Senator George Allen has received some good news should he choose to challenge Democratic Sen. Jim Webb for his old seat in 2012.
Virginia's GOP leaders elected to select their Republican candidate in 2012 by primary instead of by convention potentially helping Allen who may fare better before primary voters than party delegates.
The GOP leaders in Virginia were gathered Sunday at the party's 27th annual conference. The Advance, a gathering where members hold workshops and plan for the future, was held at a Washington-area hotel. Members of the State Central Committee, the governing body of the Republican Party of Virginia, voted 48-26 in favor of a primary instead of a convention, choosing to allow the public to select a candidate instead of giving the party power to nominate a candidate during a state convention.
Historically name recognition plays a big role in primaries whereas candidate selection by convention leans the process to the party's internal power structure making a challenge easier.
Supporters of a primary count Allen among their ranks. Allen has been rumored to be contemplating a rematch against Senator Jim Webb in 2012 but Webb has not declared yet whether he'll seek a second term.
Allen was narrowly defeated by Webb during the 2006 U.S. Senate election, after a controversial video on YouTube showed the then-Senator referring to a rival campaign's tracker as "macaca" at a campaign stop.