SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) -- State Sen. Gary Nodler is joining the crowded Republican race to succeed U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt.
Nodler, 58, announced his candidacy Thursday during stops in Springfield and his hometown of Joplin and pledged to resist what he described as an expansion of federal spending and power under President Barack Obama.
"We need a candidate that not only reflects our moral values, but also understands our economic and global challenges," Nodler said in Springfield, where he was introduced by Missouri House Speaker Ron Richard, R-Joplin.
"The expansion of federal power and federal spending represented by the Obama administration and the ultra liberal Congress must be resisted," Nodler added.
The 2010 congressional race will mark Nodler's third try for the southwest Missouri seat. He finished second to Mel Hancock in a four-way Republican primary in 1988 to succeed Rep. Gene Taylor, for whom Nodler had long worked. Nodler also ran for an open seat in 1996 but lost in the Republican primary to Blunt, who has held the seat since then. Blunt is not seeking re-election in 2010; instead, he is running for U.S. Senate.
The open seat already has attracted a sizable field of Republican candidates in the 7th Congressional District, which typically leans Republican.
Other Republicans already in the race are state Sen. Jack Goodman, of Mount Vernon, Springfield auctioneer Billy Long, Greene County prosecutor Darrell Moore and Ozarks Technical Community College instructor Jeff Wisdom.
Nodler first was elected to the state Senate in 2002 and won re-election in 2006.