State Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, kicked off her campaign for the U.S. Senate on Saturday.
Ortman made the announcement in Waconia, the heart of her Senate district.
She is the third Republican to announce a challenge to first-term DFL Sen. Al Franken. In her address to supporters, Ortman criticized Franken for supporting the federal health care law and for not being more aggressive on the National Security Agency's data gathering or reducing the federal deficit.
"This is our moment," Ortman said. "This is our time as voters in Minnesota to say that we expect more in Washington and from our U.S. Senate. We need more Minnesota in Washington and less Washington in Minnesota."
Ortman did not rule out running in a primary if she does not win the Republican Party endorsement. Sunfish Lake businessman Mike McFadden and state Rep. Jim Abeler of Anoka are also running and have left open the possibility of running in a primary.
Ortman was elected to the Minnesota Senate in 2002 and served as deputy majority leader and chairwoman of the powerful Taxes Committee when Republicans controlled the Senate in 2011-12.