Updated 2:12 p.m. | Conservative state Del. Bob Marshall is "seriously considering" entering the open-seat race for Virginia's 10th District.
Should Marshall run for the seat of retiring GOP Rep. Frank R. Wolf in this competitive Northern Virginia district, he would face fellow state Del. Barbara Comstock in a GOP "firehouse primary." The seat is a top target for national Democrats.
"I spoke to Bob yesterday, and he is seriously considering it," said John Whitbeck, chairman of the 10th District GOP. "He did not say he was entering the race at this point."
Reached for comment, Marshall declined to discuss his intentions, saying only: "I'm talking to people, and that's all I want to say."
Marshall is a hard-line social conservative who sponsored the controversial "personhood" bill in the state Legislature in 2012. He lost bids for the Republican Senate nomination in both 2008 and 2012, first at a nominating convention with former Gov. Jim Gilmore and then in a primary against former Gov. George Allen. Roll Call Editor-in-Chief Christina Bellantoni recently interviewed Marshall during the Politics Hour on the "Kojo Nnamdi Show" about his opposition to the state's efforts to overturn the marriage ban he authored nearly a decade ago.
Comstock, a well-connected state legislator and former Wolf aide, is the front-runner for the nomination. Her path appeared to clear last month when state Sen. Dick Black, an ally of Marshall, announced he would not seek the GOP nomination.
Marshall's entrance into the race would once again pit Comstock against a conservative firebrand that could appeal to GOP primary voters in Virginia.
Marshall has made headlines in the past for his comments on birth control and abortion . In 2010, he said that children born to mothers who have had previous abortions are at risk of being handicapped because “when you abort the firstborn of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children.”
Virginia's 10th District race is one of the most competitive in the state. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney won here in 2012 by a slim 1-point margin.
The seat came open late last year when Wolf announced he will retire at the end of this Congress, creating a vacancy in this seat for the first time in more than 30 years.
Candidates have until March 27 to file federal paperwork to run for the seat. The GOP nomination will be decided April 26 through a party canvass, in which the state party conducts the primary at fewer polling places than a normal primary election.
Four Democrats are currently running for the seat: attorney Richard Bolger, Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust, architect Sam Kubba and Iraq War veteran David Wroblewski.
The Democratic primary is scheduled for June 10.
Virginia’s 10th District is rated a Lean Republican contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.