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NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP/KTHV) - Former North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays says he's seeking the Democratic nomination for Arkansas' 2nd Congressional District, the first candidate to launch a bid for the seat that Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin is vacating.

Griffin announced on Monday that he would not seek re-election next year, saying he wanted to focus on time with his family. Hays announced on Tuesday he was running for the seat that Griffin has held since 2011, citing in part that the recent government shutdown has led him to run.

"We don't do that (shutdown) in city hall, we never have," Hays said."We look to solve solutions, there's no such thing around the state and around the country, there's Republican crime and there's Democratic crime - crime is crime and garbage is garbage, problems need to be solved, not to be kicked down the road and dealt with next year."

Hays was North Little Rock's longest serving mayor, starting in 1989, and opting out of re-election last year.

Griffin's exit has prompted several Democratic and Republican candidates to eye a run for his seat. Former state Rep. Linda Tyler says she's considering a run for the Democratic nomination, while former Lt. Gov. Bill Halter has been urged to seek the party's nod.