LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A Little Rock bank executive and a retired Army colonel on Tuesday said they're running for the 2nd Congressional District next year, the first Republicans to launch a bid for the central Arkansas seat since U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin announced he wouldn't seek re-election.

French Hill, the founder and chief executive of Delta Trust & Banking Corp., said in a statement released by his campaign that he was filing paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to set up his congressional campaign. Less than an hour later, retired Army Col. Conrad Reynolds said he was also seeking the GOP nomination.

The announcements set up a Republican primary that could get more crowded in the coming days. State Rep. Ann Clemmer, who has been considering a run, is scheduled to announce her plans at a news conference Wednesday. Several other GOP figures also are considering a run. Griffin, a Republican first elected in 2010, announced last week he wouldn't seek a third term.

Hill had been running for a state House seat in Little Rock, and reported raising more than $109,000 for that campaign earlier this month. He served as a senior economic policy adviser to President George H.W. Bush and is a former deputy secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

"I'm running for Congress because we need more business leaders in Congress, not more career politicians. ... I know firsthand the challenges businesses and families in Arkansas face, and in Congress, I will fight every day for policies that spur economic growth and job creation," Hill said.

In announcing his candidacy, Hill vowed to "do away with" the federal health care law and the 2010 Dodd-Frank law revamping the nation's financial system.

Reynolds won 5 percent of the vote in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate in 2010. Since that race, he said has been working on creating the Arkansas Military Veterans Hall of Fame.

"I believe that Americans are looking for a leader they can trust," Reynolds said in a statement. "They want someone in Congress who speaks for them and who gets things done. That's what I did in the United States Army, and that is what I will do when I get to Congress."

Former North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays last week announced he was seeking the Democratic nomination for Griffin's seat.