George Allen, former U.S. senator and Virginia governor (Stephanie Klein-Davis/AP)

Tea party activists in the Lynchburg area will gather this Saturday to try to find a way to defeat the frontrunner in the 2012 GOP primary for U.S. Senate -- former governor and senator George Allen.

“This will be a great time of food, fellowship and finding out more about the candidates in an effort to coalesce around one Tea Party candidate to take on George Allen in the primary,’’ the Lynchburg Tea Party wrote in a recent e-mail to supporters.

Mike Troxel, vice president of the group, says they realize that they need to unite behind one alternative to Allen.

Four other candidates — businessmen Tim Donner , lawyer David McCormick, Bishop E.W. Jackson and activist Jamie Radtke — are competing in the primary, but none has managed to gain much traction.

Radtke and Jackson are expected to attend Saturday’s event.

Allen recently unveiled a list of dozens of individual tea party activists who support him.

The primary winner is expected to face former governor Tim Kaine (D) in a general election. Two other candidates — health care company executive Julien Modica and Courtney Lynch, founding partner of a consulting firm — are running in the Democratic primary.