Bob Salsberg, Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Rep. Daniel Winslow said Thursday he would run in the upcoming special election for the U.S. Senate, giving Republicans a candidate for the seat after former Sen. Scott Brown and other high-profile party members declined to enter the race.

Winslow, a one-time judge who served as chief legal counsel in the administration of former Gov. Mitt Romney, announced his decision in a letter to supporters and GOP activists. He said the next two years represent the “last, best opportunity” to fix a “runaway federal deficit and crushing federal debt.”

Winslow formed an exploratory committee on Tuesday and said at the time that he was “99 percent there” in terms of a run for the seat formerly held by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

“I’m 110 percent in,” Winslow said in an interview late Thursday. “I’m going to give this everything I’ve got and work as hard as I can because the issues confronting us as a nation are too important to do anything else.”

Winslow, 54, is a native of western Massachusetts and now lives in Norfolk. He’s serving his second term in the state House of Representatives.

He said Thursday he would resign from his private law firm, Proskauer, to focus more attention on the Senate race.

Brown, who lost his reelection bid to Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren in November, disappointed the GOP with his announcement last Friday that he would not be a candidate. Others Republicans, including former Gov. William Weld, Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey and Romney’s son, Tagg, also took a pass.

Republicans still weighing the race include state Sen. Bruce Tarr of Gloucester; Jennie Caissie, a member of the Governor’s Council from Oxford; and Gabriel Gomez, a businessman and former Navy Seal who lives in Cohasset.

Winslow said he anticipated competition for the Republican nomination.

“I expect we are going to have a spirited primary,” he said.

The primary is April 30. The general election is June 25.

U.S. Reps. Edward Markey and Stephen Lynch are vying for the Democratic nomination. Other Democrats are considering a run.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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