AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst formally launched his widely expected campaign for the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.

Dewhurst filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission and sent a three-minute video to about 500 supporters, campaign manager Jim Bognet told The Associated Press.

Dewhurst, a Houston multimillionaire, earned his money in oil and gas. As lieutenant governor, he holds the job that made him the presiding officer over the Republican-controlled state Senate. He had been expected to run for the seat, and joins a crowded Republican primary.

Other candidates include former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz, former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and former Texas Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones.

All are vying for the seat held by Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison, who is not running for re-election in 2012.

Dewhurst, 65, is widely expected to be willing to spend some of his personal fortune on his campaign.

He grew up in Houston and attended the University of Arizona, where he played basketball for two years and studied history. After graduation, he became an officer in the U.S. Air Force and then went to work for the CIA for two years in Bolivia, where he learned to speak Spanish.

Dewhurst entered the public sector in 1999 when he won the commissioner's post at the General Land Office, which manages state lands to create education revenue and oversees the public school fund.

After one term as land commissioner, Dewhurst beat veteran politician John Sharp to win the lieutenant governor's post, often considered the state's most powerful statewide elected seat because the officeholder controls the flow of legislation in the Senate and appoints senators to legislative committees.

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