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Former state Rep. Kelda Roys, a Madison Democrat, will launch her campaign for governor "just after the new year," she said Thursday.

Roys said in a text message she is currently hiring campaign staff.

She told the Cap Times in August she was thinking "very seriously" about a gubernatorial bid. On Thursday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported she had posted in a private Facebook group that she was running for governor and hiring interns and finance personnel.

Roys, 38, has been an increasingly frequent presence at political events as she floated the possibility of running. 

The CEO and founder of real estate tech company OpenHomes, Roys represented Madison in the state Assembly for four years after winning a six-way primary in 2008. She left her seat in 2012 to mount an ill-fated Congressional campaign, eventually losing to fellow Madison Democrat Mark Pocan.

She joins a crowded Democratic field that includes Milwaukee businessman Andy Gronik, state superintendent Tony Evers, Eau Claire state Rep. Dana Wachs, Alma state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, political activist Mike McCabe and firefighters union president Mahlon Mitchell. 

"What we need to do is articulate a positive vision for the future of our state and bring energy and excitement to voters in the Democratic Party, not in the Democratic Party, independents that feel like they have been left out of the discussion, and people who aren’t that engaged in politics because they haven’t really had a reason to be. Those are the elements that are going to make us successful," Roys said in an interview in August.

She said she believes Republican Gov. Scott Walker is "beatable." 

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"Madison extremist Kelda Roys was rejected for her far-left views by Madison voters in 2012," said Republican Party of Wisconsin spokesman Alec Zimmerman. "While Governor Scott Walker has fought to return power to hard-working Wisconsin taxpayers, Roys’ positions on taxing small businesses and other issues are too liberal even for Madison — and too extreme for Wisconsin."

Before her time in the state Assembly, Roys earned her law degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and served as executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin.

Roys has two daughters and two stepdaughters with her partner, Dan Reed.

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Jessie Opoien covers state government and politics for the Capital Times. She joined the Cap Times in 2013 and has also covered Madison life, race relations, culture and music. She has also covered education and politics for the Oshkosh Northwestern.