Washington (CNN)Illinois state Sen. Darin LaHood, son of former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, announced Wednesday plans to run for embattled Rep. Aaron Schock's seat after the congressman resigns at the end of the month.
Ray LaHood's son running for Schock seat
"I'm gonna work as hard as I can to run in this district, and I'm sure there'll be other top quality people there, but I'm gonna stand on my record in the state Senate," he said on WMBD Radio, a CNN affiliate, in Peoria, Ill.
LaHood's announcement came as no surprise, as supporters had floated his name as a potential contender within hours of Schock's Tuesday announcement that he'll step down on March 31.
A congressional source told CNN Tuesday that LaHood had been laying low, waiting to see how things played out for the congressman. LaHood told WMBD on Wednesday that he was "absolutely surprised" by Schock's announcement.
"I was stunned, I really was. I thought we'd never see that," he said, adding that it was "sad" for the district and that he has "sympathy" for the Republican and his staff.
But he also emphasized his commitment to ethics reform as part of his appeal as a candidate.
Voters want "someone that will represent them well, vote the right way, work hard and hopefully not get in any trouble," he said. "I've been one of the strongest advocates for ethics reform in the Illinois state Senate, and I'll continue to be that way if I'm fortunate enough to run and win in Congress."
Illinois' 18th district is deeply Republican, and Schock would've faced little opposition for holding onto the seat for as long as he wanted it, had he not become embroiled in a scandal surrounding his lavish spending practices. He resigned Tuesday amid rumblings that he had been reimbursed from his official and campaign funds for more mileage on his personal car than he actually drove.
LaHood is seen as an early frontrunner in the race, in part because of his family's name recognition. The younger LaHood resisted claims of nepotism, however, promising during his radio interview to not "take anything for granted."
But in a nod to the fact that his father's work in the Obama Administration could become a liability for him in a Republican primary, LaHood also underscored the fact that "every family has differences, different political views.
"We don't always agree with them. That's the case in my family, as with most families that I'm aware of."