Former State Senator John Howe, R-Red Wing, announced today he will run for Congress in Minnesota's Second Congressional District.

Howe became the first Republican candidate to enter the race since Congressman John Kline announced earlier this month that he would not seek re-election to Congress in 2016.

Republican David Gerson, who ran unsuccessfully against Kline in 2012 and 2014, announced his third run for Congress in January and was the only other Republican candidate in the race until Howe's announcement this morning.

In an interview this afternoon, Howe said he is committing up to $500,000 of personal money to kick start his campaign. Howe called his investment the "cost of the entry" into the race and he expected "a decent and legitimate campaign" to raise and spend approximately $3 million to win next November.

Howe described himself as "the most electable conservative" in the race to replace Kline in Congress.

Howe's decision to run for Kline's seat comes after numerous Republicans passed on the opportunity to run for Congress in a district being increasingly considered a swing-district.

Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, Rep. Roz Peterson, R-Lakeville, Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, former judge and Minnesota first lady Mary Pawlenty, and former U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden all announced they will not run for Congress in the Second Congressional District in 2016.

Howe will make a decision on whether to abide by the endorsement of the Republican Party in the Second Congressional District once other potential Republican candidates decide if they will abide by the party's endorsement.

Howe previously abided by the endorsement of the Republican Party in his campaigns for the Minnesota Senate in 2010 and 2012 and when he sought the Republican Party of Minnesota's endorsement for Secretary of State in 2014.

Rep. Tony Albright, R-Prior Lake, former Rep. Pam Myhra, R-Burnsville, former Sen. Ted Daley, R-Eagan, and Chris Andryski, a CPA from Savage, are also considered possible Republican congressional candidates in the district.

Angie Craig and Mary Lawrence are the only two announced Democratic candidates for Congress. Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, also announced in an email he is considering a run for Congress.

Picture source: Howe for Congress