Washington (CNN) - Rep. Patrick Kennedy already had a Republican challenger, businessman John Loughlin, before he decided to retire from his Rhode Island seat late Thursday.
Now that Kennedy is out of the race, another Republican might jump in: Rhode Island GOP chairman Giovanni Cicione.
"I am more than interested," Cicione told CNN Friday. "I would love to do it, I just don't know if I am in a position to do it."
Cicione predicted that more Republicans might decide to pursue the open seat, which leans Democratic. Several Rhode Island Democrats have already expressed interest in succeeding Kennedy.
"I think we are going to see a lot of activity on the Republican side," said Cicione, an attorney who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1996. But, he added, "John Loughlin is a good candidate and I want to see him succeed."
The Rhode Island GOP has been plagued by infighting between moderates and conservatives in recent months, with conservative elements recently banding together to demand Cicione's ouster over the question of whether to keep Republican primaries open to independent voters. Ciocione favors doing so.