Washington (CNN) – Former Sen. George LeMieux announced Tuesday that he will join the Florida Senate race and seek to reclaim his old job.
The Republican made his announcement on a Florida radio station.
"For too long, politicians have made the easy choice and refused to do anything about our overspending," LeMieux said in a statement. "Florida needs another common sense voice to join Senator Rubio in Washington and put this country back on track.”
LeMieux is one of three Republicans hoping to unseat Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012. State Senate President Mike Haridopolos has already entered the race, and former state Rep. Adam Hasner is expected to run.
"Bill Nelson, like most career politicians, is part of the problem," LeMieux said. "Year in and year out, Bill Nelson has voted for bloated budgets, bigger bureaucracy, higher taxes, and has driven government into nearly every aspect of our lives."
LeMieux was appointed to the Senate in August 2009 by then-Gov. Charlie Crist to serve out the remainder of Mel Martinez's term after the Republican senator retired. LeMieux left the Senate in January to make way for Rubio, who defeated Crist and former Rep. Kendrick Meek.
LeMieux was a longtime Crist adviser before joining the Senate, but he gradually distanced himself from his former boss in 2010 after it became clear that Rubio's small-government conservative message was more in step with the Republican electorate.