ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A former Republican lawmaker is eyeing a return to the Legislature after just a year away.

Rep. Jim Abeler spent eight terms in the House before stepping away in 2014 for a failed bid for the U.S. Senate. His old seat representing Anoka and Ramsey is now taken, but the state senator in the area isn’t running again in 2016.

He announced a bid for the Senate seat in a statement Wednesday.

Abeler is a moderate Republican with a strong focus on health care issues. He was one of six GOP lawmakers who bucked party lines and voted to override Gov. Pawlenty’s gas tax increase veto in 2008.

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