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Former Idaho Democratic gubernatorial nominee Paulette Jordan speaks to the crowd during last month’s Women’s March at the Idaho Capitol in Boise.

Former Idaho Democratic gubernatorial nominee Paulette Jordan announced Friday that she’s running for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Jim Risch, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Three other Democratic hopefuls are already in the race: Nancy Harris, Travis Oler and Jim Vandermaas. Risch, 76, has served in the Senate since 2009 and also is a former Idaho governor, lieutenant governor and longtime state senator.

“Idaho is in need of new leadership,” Jordan said in a press release. “Idahoans are fed up. People from all walks of life are frustrated with the partisan gridlock in Congress and they are calling for a leader who represents them.”

Jordan, 40, a member of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, made history when she ran for governor, as the first Native American woman to be a major-party nominee for governor of Idaho. She took 38.2% of the vote to Republican Gov. Brad Little’s 59.8%.

Prior to running for governor, Jordan served as a state representative, representing the Plummer area in North Idaho in the Idaho House.

Risch has announced he’ll seek reelection.

Jordan’s release says she’ll speak this weekend at the National Federal of Democratic Women Western Regional Conference in Nevada. She’s planning a campaign kickoff in Boise “later this month.”

Also in the race, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission, are Constitution Party candidate Ray Writz and independent candidate Natalie Fleming.

Harris responded to Jordan’s announcement, saying she’s concluded that “a competitive primary is healthy for the Democratic Party and for all Idahoans.”

“I look forward to robust debate and the conversations we will all have as we knock on doors across our great state,” Harris said in a statement. “Welcome to the race, Paulette, and may the woman with the best ideas win.”

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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