LEXINGTON, KY (AP) — Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles has announced that he’ll enter the 2023 governor’s race.

He joins what’s shaping up to be a crowded Republican contest to select a nominee to challenge Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear.

Quarles told a GOP gathering in Lexington Saturday night that he will seek the state’s top elected position.

Quarles is in his second term as agriculture commissioner.

He has long been seen as a strong contender, having built up his name recognition across rural Kentucky.

His entry into the race could signal a flurry of potential announcements in the coming weeks and months.