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LAMAR, Mo. (AP) — A former state lawmaker is the first candidate to announce a run for the U.S. House seat that will become open with Rep. Vicky Hartzler’s decision to run for the U.S. Senate.

Former Republican state Sen. Ed Emery of Lamar announced his decision on a new Facebook page.

“If, as a nation, we are to continue to enjoy the immeasurable blessings God has poured out from our country’s earliest and miraculous beginnings there must be a return to those freedoms and eternal truths that have born us this far. With that as my vision I am to declaring my intention to run for the U.S. Congress – 4th District,” Emery said in the post.

Emery is 71 and first won election to the Missouri Senate in 2012. He left when his final term ended at the start of this year. He previously served as a state representative.

Hartzler, a Republican, announced her Senate bid last week. She is among several candidates seeking the seat that will be vacated by Republican Roy Blunt’s retirement.