ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -

A former state representative says he wants to be the next head of the Minnesota Republican Party.

Edina's Keith Downey told fellow Republicans on Wednesday that he'll vie for the party chairmanship in early April. Current chairman Pat Shortridge is stepping down.

Downey was a two-term House member before he tried to move up to the state Senate. He lost that race in November. Downey says the Republican Party is due for a turnaround with a critical 2014 election cycle looming. The governor's office, a U.S. Senate seat and many more key offices are on the line.

The party still faces hefty debt.

The other announced candidate so far is Marjorie Holsten, who has been chairwoman of her local Republican chapter in the southwestern suburbs.