DELANO, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — The Republican candidate for governor in 2010 is trying for a political comeback as he joins the race to succeed Michele Bachmann in Congress.

Tom Emmer was announcing his campaign Wednesday in his hometown of Delano. Emmer says his narrow 2010 governor’s race loss to Mark Dayton will make him a stronger candidate, and that he wants to follow in Bachmann’s footsteps fighting what he called “the ever-growing size of government.”

Emmer is an attorney, former state representative and talk radio host. On Wednesday morning, Republican Party Chairman Keith Downey told WCCO Radio that while he was not quite ready to throw his former support behind Emmer, he recognized he “would obviously be the one with the highest name recognition to enter the race.”

State Sen. John Pederson of St. Cloud says he’s also likely to run, and a handful of current and former state and local officials are mulling it too.

Democrat Jim Graves dropped out of the race after Bachmann did. No other DFL candidates have emerged. Bachmann has held the 6th district seat since being elected in 2006 over Democratic candidate Patty Wetterling and Independent candidate John Binkowski.

The Minnesota DFL spokesperson released a statement in response to the announcement.

“In Emmer’s unsuccessful 2010 run for Governor, he drained Republican Party resources and turned off the Party’s major donor community,” the statement said. “As a candidate, Tom Emmer just offers more of the same for the 6th Congressional District -– a voice for the hard-core right-wing, not hard-working families.”

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