The race to succeed retiring Sen. James Webb (D-Va.), has gained a new entrant, as wealthy political neophyte Timothy E. Donner filed papers earlier this month to enter the contest for the Republican nomination.

The move was largely expected, as Donner — the executive director of Great Falls-based Horizons Television Inc. and the leader of a conservative public policy organization-- signaled last month that he was likely to enter the race. The news that he has made it official was first noted by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Former U.S. senator George Allen is widely considered the Republican frontrunner, while former tea party leader Jamie Radtke, Hampton Roads lawyer David McCormick and Bishop Earl Jackson are also gunning for the GOP nod.

Former governor Timothy M. Kaine is the only announced Democratic candidate, and Rep. Bobby Scott (D) has said he will decide in July whether to run.

Donner’s company, Horizons, produces documentaries and educational videos. He is also the president of One Generation Away and on the board of the Virginia Institute for Public Policy, both of them conservative policy organizations.

Donner is largely unknown in Virginia politics and has made no contributions to federal or state candidates in the past.