Rep. Tim Griffin (R-Ark.), a rising GOP star who surprised many by announcing he wouldn't seek reelection in 2014, has now announced that he'll run for lieutenant governor this year.
Griffin turned down running for governor or Senate -- two prime GOP pickup opportunities -- before he announced his retirement and gave little indication that a 2014 campaign was on the table until last week. On Thursday, he said he'll run for the state's No. 2 executive job.
"The decision to leave Congress and return home was an agonizing decision but the right one for my young family," Griffin said in a statement. "Since that announcement, I have been urged to continue public service, and I am humbled and honored at the encouragement I have received from all over our wonderful state."
Griffin will face a trio of state House members in the GOP primary. In the general election, former highway commissioner John Burkhalter is the only Democrat running.
Lt. Gov. Mark Darr (R) resigned early this month in the face of ethics charges.
The office of lieutenant governor earns just $42,000 a year -- less than one-fourth what members of Congress make.