The field for the 10th Congressional seat grew Tuesday with the announced candidacy of Republican state Rep. Elizabeth Coulson of Glenview.
Coulson confirmed her decision, saying "the timing is right and the issues are important." The Glenview resident and licensed physical therapist has been elected seven times to her 17th District state legislative seat.
The 10th Congressional District seat is being vacated by longtime Republican incumbent Mark Kirk, who is running for the U.S. Senate.
"The main reason I'm running for Congress is I ran originally to work on health care issues in Springfield," Coulson said. "That whole agenda has moved to the national level and I'd like to be in on those decisions."
She joins Patricia Bird, a business owner and political researcher from Mount Prospect, as announced Republican candidates.
For Democrats, Wilmette business consultant Dan Seals is making a third run for the seat. He is joined by state Rep. Julie Hamos of Evanston and Elliott Richardson of Highland Park. State Sen. Michael Bond of Grayslake dropped out of the race.
Coulson, 54, is described as a moderate by Roll Call, a publication specializing in Congressional coverage.
She described Kirk predecessor John Porter as her mentor who encouraged her to run for state office. She added her state legislative district has included a good portion of the 10th Congressional district.
"I fit the district well," she said.
Coulson expects to make an official announcement Monday, but she likely won't be the last candidate in the race.
"There's at least three or four other people who are exploring it at this time," said Dan Venturi, Lake County Republican Party Chairman.
"She's very well liked in her district so I think she's a very credible candidate," he said of Coulson.
The battle to replace Kirk is expected to be heated, with Democrats hoping to gain the seat and Republicans pushing to improve their numbers in the U.S. House.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is targeting Coulson, saying President Barack Obama won the district in 2008 with more than 60 percent of the vote, and Sen. John Kerry carried it in 2004.
"There is no doubt Illinois' 10th Congressional District presents a great opportunity for Democrats this election cycle as Republicans grasp at the dream of holding on to this Democratic district," said Gabby Adler, regional press secretary for the DCCC.
Candidate filing is Oct. 26 to Nov. 4.
Daily Herald political and projects editor Joe Ryan contributed to this report.