State Rep. Paul Kohls said Thursday that he is running for governor, joining what is expected to be a large field of Republican candidates for the job in the wake of Gov. Tim Pawlenty's June 2 announcement that he will not seek a third term.

Kohls, 35, an attorney and four-term legislator from Victoria, has filed papers with the state to establish a campaign committee. He said he will take a leave of absence from his job in July to begin working full time at the task of securing support for the 2010 campaign.

"I've spent much of the last two weeks on the phone with Republican leaders from across the state. The encouragement and support to get into the race has been overwhelming," he said in a statement.

Kohls said his platform will focus on fiscal responsibility and limited government.