The battle for the Sixth Congressional district will soon have a Democratic candidate.

Jim Read, a longtime College of St. Benedict political science professor, said he will formally announce his bid to Democratic groups on Thursday and will file a campaign committee within a week with the Federal Election Commission.

"This is directly related to the crisis over the federal government shutdown and the potentially greater crisis on defaulting over the debt," Read said on Tuesday.

Read said he's taught and written about politics for his whole life and did not plan to run for Congress but the events in Washington, which he said amounted to "ordinary citizens being taken as hostages" and "siege warfare," urged him to action.

"We are entering very difficult and dangerous political territory and I felt I needed to do something," Read said.

Four Republican candidates are already running in the heavily GOP district to take the seat U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann will leave unfilled in the 2014 election.

Read's only previous experience running for elected office was in 1992 when he ran for the state House. He won 7,478 votes in that race; his Republican opponent picked up 7,576 votes and the win.

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