State Auditor Tom Schweich has announced he is challenging former Missouri House Speaker and U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway for the Republican nomination for Missouri governor in 2016.

State Auditor Tom Schweich

State Auditor Tom Schweich

St. Louis Public Radio’s Joe Mannies reported his announcement on Twitter.

His announcement ends months of speculation about his political future. Schweich has been viewed for some time as a likely candidate for Governor but had declined to announce his plans until after the November, 2014 election.

He becomes the second Republican to declare candidacy for the 2016 governor’s race after Hanaway. Each have more than $1-million in their respective campaign funds. The only Democrat to announce candidacy for governor is Attorney General Chris Koster, who as of October listed more than $2.6-million on hand.

Schweich has been auditor since 2010 and won his second term in that office last year without Democratic opposition.

In recent years he has been credited as running an efficient and effective auditor’s office, but has also been criticized by Democrats for his legal challenges against Governor Nixon.

Hanaway preempted Schweich’s announcement by issuing a statement criticizing him for setting up a Republican primary for governor in 2016, saying primaries, “have repeatedly cost the Republican Party statewide elections.”