Ricardo Sanchez, the former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, filed paperwork Wednesday to run for the open U.S. Senate seat in Texas in 2012.
"I believe Texas needs a strong, independent voice to address the enormous challenges we are facing -- leadership that focuses on results rather than politics," Sanchez, a Democrat and former Army lieutenant general, said in a statement released by his campaign.
Sanchez, who now lives in San Antonio, said he'll make a formal public announcement in the coming weeks.
The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee has identified Texas as one of the six Republican-held seats the party hopes to pick up in 2012. Democrats hold a slim 53-47 majority in the chamber, and must defend 23 of their seats next fall.
Democrats see changing demographics as reason for optimism in Texas, a state where for decades the party hasn't had much success. New census data showed that the Latino population grew 42% in Texas from 2000 through 2010, and now accounts for more than a third of the overall population.