Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter announced in a Tuesday email to supporters that he will be a candidate in Louisiana's 2015 governor's race.
"I believe that as our next Governor, I can have a bigger impact addressing the unique challenges and opportunities we face in Louisiana," the senator said in an email first obtained by The Associated Press from a member of Vitter's staff.
Vitter's announcement ends months of speculation about his intentions, and his decision is expected to influence which other potential candidates enter the race.
Gov. Bobby Jindal is term-limited, so the race is wide open. Vitter can run without forfeiting his Senate seat, which isn't up for re-election until 2016.
Vitter said that as governor, he would push for excellence in education, budget stability, tax and spending reform, and government accountability.
"This will be my last political job, elected or appointed, period. So my only agenda will be to do what's best for all Louisianians, from our best and brightest to our most vulnerable," he said in the email.
Others who have said they will run for governor include: Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and state Rep. John Bel Edwards, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. State GOP Treasurer John Kennedy has said he is considering entering the race.
Vitter has proved to be a resilient politician, holding elected office for more than two decades as a state and federal lawmaker and easily winning re-election to a second U.S. Senate term in 2010, despite ties to a prostitution scandal.
Vitter admitted to a "serious sin" after phone records linked him to Washington's "D.C. Madam" prostitution case in 2007. He hasn't commented further on whether he broke the law, instead saying his family had forgiven him and moved past it.
© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.