RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A conservative minister announced he's joining the fight for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine in 2018.

E.W. Jackson announced his campaign Monday on The John Fredericks Show radio program. The lawyer-turned-preacher ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2013.

He joins Corey Stewart, a former state campaign chairman of President Donald Trump, and Del. Nick Freitas, as announced candidates.

Jackson on Monday previewed a possibly contentious fight with Stewart for the nomination, suggesting Stewart supports tax increases and may be sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood. Stewart said both claims were "ridiculous."

Jackson's fiery rhetoric added a touch of drama to his 2013 race. He compared Planned Parenthood to the Ku Klux Klan and said former President Barack Obama may be an atheist or a Muslim.

"And it's going to be a wild and wooly primary contest coming up," said Old Dominion University political science professor Jesse Richman. He says whomever the Republican nominee ends up being, he will face an uphill fight.

"It's going to be a tough race, " he said. "The Democrats have won several recent state-wide elections."

Including just last month when Democrats wiped out a 32-seat majority in the Virginia House of Delegates, in addition to winning the governor, lieutenant governor and attorney geneal races.

Richman says that President Trump, who lost Virginia in 2016, will play a big role, and not necessarily a good one for the Republican senate candidate.

"Trump is going to be big in terms of ow people vote in 2018," he said. "And I expect mid-term elections have in some respects the quality to a referendum on the sitting president. And, particularly, given Trump's current approval ratings, that referendum could prove to be quite costly for the Republcians."