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Reno: 'I am running for governor'

TALLAHASSEE, Florida (CNN) -- Former Attorney General Janet Reno announced Tuesday that she is after Florida's top elected job.

"I am running for governor," Reno, a Democrat, told CNN. "Today we opened a campaign account, filed our papers with the secretary of state and will now move forward to raise money and to build a campaign organization."

Reno said education would be a key issue in her campaign.

CNN's Mark Potter talks with Janet Reno about her bid to become Florida governor (September 4)

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Former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno confirms she will run for the Florida governorship. CNN's Mark Potter reports (September 4)

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Message Board: Reno for governor?  

"I had talked with the people of Florida, to so many people from all across Florida, and I think they share my vision for the future," Reno said. "I want to build the best educational system in the country for Florida."

Joel Mynard, administrative assistant for secretary of state's office, said two forms were filed: one appointing a campaign treasurer and designating a campaign depository.

"The other paper is a statement of candidate," he said. "She's on our announced candidate list for governor."

If she wins the Democratic nomination, Reno, 63, would almost certainly face Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, the brother of President George W. Bush and son of former President George Bush. Jeb Bush said Tuesday he was "pleased" that Reno was going to enter the race.

"I'm anxious to hear the views and positions that these candidates will take," Bush said. "I look forward to working on our agenda."

Local, national issues

The gubernatorial contest would likely turn into one of the hottest races in the country in 2002, touching on such issues as Elian Gonzalez, the disputed presidential recount in Florida, and Reno's controversial tenure as attorney general in the Clinton administration.

A native of Miami, Reno returned to her home state after leading the Justice Department for eight years. She had served as Dade County state's attorney for 10 years before joining the Clinton administration.

She disclosed her possible interest in a run for the governor's office in May, and at that time, she discounted the suggestion that her Parkinson's disease -- a neurological disorder that causes involuntary tremors -- would hurt her prospective candidacy.

"If you could survive eight years in Washington, with the press corps in Washington, with Congress in Washington, and go at it as I did, and then come home and kayak down the Chattooga, the Nantahala and the Ocoee in three days and come out of it without having stumped your boat, you're doing pretty good," Reno told CNN in May. "I think I can do it, otherwise I wouldn't be here."

Reno would likely face a battle for Florida's Cuban-American vote because of her handling of Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban boy who was rescued off the Florida coast on Thanksgiving Day in 1999 only to be seized by federal authorities many months later so he could be returned to his father in Cuba.

"I don't expect that I will get people to agree with me," she said of the Cuban-American community, "but I think that they will come to understand the reason I did what I did."

The Division of Elections' Web site lists 10 other Democratic candidates for governor in Florida.

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