Secretary of State Karen Handel has filed the official paperwork to raise money in a bid for governor in 2010.
Handel has tapped longtime Republican stalwart Fred Cooper to chair her campaign. Cooper, a former chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, is a longtime confidant of former presidents George H.W. and George W. Bush.
Handel was elected in 2006 in a race with former state Sen. Bill Stephens.
She joins a growing field of candidates, including Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, R-Chestnut Mountain, Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, R-Duluth, and state Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton.
Under Georgia law, all of the announced Republican candidates, because of holding state office, cannot raise campaign funds until the legislature adjourns next week.
Former Adjutant Gen. David Poythress is the only announced Democrat in the race for governor. Among those mentioned as a possible Democratic candidate is former Gov. Roy Barnes, who was defeated by Gov. Sonny Perdue in 2002.
Handel, who lives in Roswell, served as president of the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce before making a successful run for chairman of the Fulton County Commission. She held that post until 2003, when she resigned to become deputy chief of staff to Perdue.
During the administration of the first President Bush, she served on the staff of Marilyn Quayle, the wife of Vice President Dan Quayle.