State Rep. Tom Emmer, one of the Minnesota House's most outspoken conservatives, announced Monday that he is joining a rapidly expanding field of candidates running for governor in 2010.

The Delano Republican said in a statement that it is time to turn back the tide of governmental growth, and use leadership and innovation to usher in a new era of prosperity.

"Minnesota can no longer tolerate career politicians with no experience beyond the walls of our Capitol or government bureaucracies," Emmer said. "Over the past couple of decades, we have stood silently by as the public bureaucracies have grown at an astounding pace at the expense of our private economy. ... This cannot continue if our children and grandchildren have any hope of enjoying the American dream here in Minnesota."

Emmer, 48, is a trial lawyer who has made a name for himself representing insurance companies and the insurance interests of several cities and counties in Minnesota. He was raised in Edina and received his law degree from William Mitchell College of Law in 1984.

Emmer served on city councils in Independence and Delano for 10 years before being elected to the House in 2004. He has said that high taxes were his prime motivation for seeking public office, but he first won wide attention for sponsoring legislation to mandate castration of some sex offenders. He also has fought to require voters to show photo IDs to prevent fraud.

In 2006, then-House Minority Leader Marty Seifert named Emmer deputy minority leader. Last year Emmer challenged Seifert for the top position but lost.

Seifert is expected to formally announce his candidacy for governor this morning.

Several Republicans -- including announced candidates Rep. Paul Kohls of Victoria, Sen. Mike Jungbauer of East Bethel and former state Rep. Bill Haas of Champlin -- have been weighing a run since Gov. Tim Pawlenty said last month that he won't be seeking a third term.

One possible candidate is former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, who conceded the long-running Senate race to Al Franken last week and said that he may have an announcement soon on his political plans.

Kevin Duchschere • 651-292-0164