Washington (CNN) - Virginia Republican Corey Stewart told CNN Wednesday that Sen. Jim Webb's decision not to seek reelection makes it more likely he will enter the high profile Senate race himself later this year.
"It significantly changes the race," Stewart, the GOP chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, told CNN of Webb's decision. "The Democrats have a weak bench and the odds a Republican will win are significantly higher."
Should Stewart enter the race, he would face off at least against former Sen. George Allen and Tea Party-backed candidate Jamie Radtke. Allen, the former senator who lost to Webb in 2006, is thought to be the early favorite. But some state GOP activists are wary of another Allen bid and Tea Party organizations are suspect of some of his positions.
Stewart meanwhile says Allen has little chance of winning statewide should he capture the party's nomination.
"The problem with George Allen is that he has the whole 'macaca' thing," Stewart said of Allen's now-infamous 2006 gaffe that cost him that election. "And that's not his only problem. He is going to have a real tough time reaching out to African Americans in particular. The African American turnout in 2012 is going to be very high and George Allen has very little room to grow."
Stewart says he won't officially launch a campaign until next November, after the race to retain his chairmanship in Prince William County is over. But the Virginia conservative appears to suggest he's all but running now.
"That doesn't mean I can't be doing things behind the scenes, like traveling around the state which I've done intently the last six to eight months and arranging fundraising," he said of his decision to delay an official announcement. "Just because I haven't announced doesn't mean I am not preparing."