BOISE, Idaho — Former Idaho Attorney General David Leroy announced Thursday he’s running to replace fourth-term U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador in the solidly-conservative 1st Congressional District.

Leroy said he’s running for the open seat because he believes the most critical job in America over the next few years will be a member of Congress.

“As the Reagan years were transformative, so can be the Trump administration, with the leadership, support and initiative of a conservative, collaborative legislative branch,” Leroy said during his announcement.

Leroy, 69, served as Idaho’s attorney general from 1979 to 1983, and as lieutenant governor from 1983 to 1987. He was appointed by President H.W. Bush to be a United States nuclear waste negotiator from 1990 to 1993.

He narrowly lost to Democratic Gov. Cecil Andrus as the Republican nominee in 1986 and lost the GOP primary for the same congressional seat in 1994.

“Last time, I was the last candidate to file. This time I’m the first candidate running for the 1st Congressional District,” Leroy said.

Leroy is the first GOP candidate to jump into the race following Labrador’s filing Tuesday to run in the 2018 governor’s race. However, the position is expected to draw a competitive range of GOP contenders.

Former Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna has already released a statement saying he’s considering running for the congressional seat. Luna served as Idaho’s top schools chief from 2006 to 2014.

“I have visited with supporters and party leaders across Idaho about this possibility and am very encouraged by their positive response,” Luna said, adding that he wouldn’t make an official decision for another few weeks.

Several other key state Republican lawmakers have been named as possible candidates, but none have publicly confirmed they’re in the running.

The 1st Congressional District covers the northern half of the state and snakes down to the western part of the Treasure Valley, including parts of Boise.

The last time there was an opening in the district was in 2006, which attracted a six-person GOP primary after then U.S. Rep. C.L. “Butch” Otter stepped down to run for governor. Six years prior, Otter won the open GOP primary in an eight-person race.