Virginia's conservative attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, has plans to run for governor in 2013, a senior republican official told the Associated Press Wednesday.
The decision, first reported by the Washington Post, will likely create a fierce clash for the GOP nomination with Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who is also expected to run.
Cuccinelli, 43, a former state senator from Fairfax County, has served as attorney general since 2009. He's received national attention as being one of the first state attorneys general to file a lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's health care reform law.
"At some point in 2012 I will more formally announce that I will seek to succeed Governor McDonnell in the 2013 election and continue his positive record of pursuing opportunity for all Virginians," read a statement from Cuccinelli Thursday.
He also said his priority for the next two years remains his responsibilities as attorney general.
Bolling said Cuccinelli's decision "puts ambition ahead of party," News4's Julie Carey reported.
Virginia has a one-term limit, therefore current Gov. Bob McDonnell cannot run for reelection.