LAS VEGAS (AP) — A former assistant Nevada state attorney general says he'll run as a Republican for the top state law enforcement position.

Wes Duncan formally announced last week that he'll run to replace state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, a Republican who just kicked off his bid for governor.

"I want to make Nevada the safest place to raise a family," said Duncan, a former state Assembly member who was elected in 2012 and 2014 but resigned from the Legislature to move to the attorney general's office.

Duncan quit his post in September to become a partner in the Nevada law firm Hutchison & Steffen.

State Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford, a Democrat, also says he will seek the office to be decided next November.

Duncan, in an interview Tuesday, said he wanted to avoid being a state employee running for elected office, and he believes Nevada should join several other states that require mid-term elected officials to resign to run for another position.

He is a major in the Air Force Reserve who serves as a judge advocate at Nellis Air Force Base. In active duty, he deployed to the Middle East and worked at the Central Criminal Court of Iraq in Baghdad.

Duncan pointed to his work chairing an attorney general's office working group that studied reducing a backlog of some 8,000 sexual assault evidence kits. The state Legislature passed a bipartisan law this year giving police 30 days to send rape kits to laboratories, and labs 180 days to test the samples.

Duncan also served as vice chair of a panel to develop policies to combat drug addiction.

Ford is an attorney from Las Vegas who was elected to the state Senate in 2012 and re-elected in 2016. He cites endorsements from the state's Democratic congressional delegation: U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Reps. Dina Titus, Ruben Kihuen and Jacky Rosen.

Duncan said he hopes to win endorsements from Nevada's 17 county sheriffs.