Virginia Republican Corey Stewart, who is weighing a bid for Senate in 2012, said Thursday that associates of former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) are already playing hardball in an attempt to convince him to stay out of the Senate contest. 

Allen is widely expected to make another run for his former seat two years from now, but he might face some GOP opposition in the primary.   

Stewart, who is the Chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, is up for reelection in 2011, a race he said those close to Allen have already warned him about.  

"They've already started making the threats," said Stewart, who told The Hill that "someone senior in the Allen camp" relayed a message to his office that they intend to solicit interests to pour money into the campaign of Stewart's challenger next year.   

"I never back down to a threat," said Stewart. "All that does is make me dig my heels in more." 

A senior advisor close to the former senator said simply, "It's not true." 

The advisor added that Allen has always had a good relationship with Stewart and while he expects that to continue, he has been "surprised" by some of the chairman's recent public criticisms.  

Stewart reiterated that he is seriously considering a Senate bid and will make a final decision sometime next year. 

Last week, Stewart said in a TV interview that Allen was a great governor of Virginia, but his record during one term in the Senate was "mediocre." 

-Updated at 8:20 p.m.