Former governors George Allen (R) and Tim Kaine (D) have agreed to their first debate in the race for U.S. Senate in 2012.

The two candidates will appear Dec. 7 at the annual AP Day at the Capitol in Richmond, sponsored by the Virginia AP Managing Editors, the Virginia Capitol Correspondents Association and other statewide organizations.

The 90-minute debate will be moderated by Bob Gibson, executive director of the nonpartisan Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia.

Any declared candidate, who averages 15 percent or better in published, non-candidate primary polls, and has raised at least 20 percent as much money as his or her party’s frontrunner by the end of October is eligible to participate.

“Virginia's AP Day debate is a long-standing tradition and Governor Kaine looks forward to participating,’’ said Brandi Hoffine, a Kaine spokeswoman. “As he does in speeches all across the commonwealth, Governor Kaine will emphasize his message of bringing the Virginia lessons of fiscal responsibility, sound economic management and a willingness to seek common ground to Washington."

Kaine participated in a similar debate at AP Day at the Capitol when he was running for governor against Republican Jerry Kilgore.

“George Allen has been traveling throughout the commonwealth hearing from families and business owners who are frustrated by the failures of Washington and concerned about the future,’’ said Bill Riggs, an Allen spokesman. “The people and families of Virginia are facing serious challenges, and George Allen believes that this forum will be a valuable opportunity to discuss the issues that are most important to Virginians and debate new ideas and solutions to revitalize this weak economy.  George Allen is the only candidate in this race with a comprehensive pro-growth plan of action to reinvigorate America’s entrepreneurial spirit and create millions of new jobs, and we look forward to this opportunity to continue that important discussion.”

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) is also scheduled to speak at the day-long event, which attracts dozens of journalists from Richmond and across the state.

This post has been updated since it was first published.