Majority Leader Denise Merrill of Mansfield said Friday that she will be officially announcing her candidacy for Secretary of the State next week.

“I’m not exploring, I’m running,” Merrill said Friday.

Merrill, who has served in the House of Representatives since 1994, entered politics through a League of Women Voters law and citizenship program, so running for Secretary of State is “going back to my roots,” she said. 

Merrill also was once the vice chairwoman of the legislature’s General Administration and Elections Committee. She has also served as chairwoman of the legislature’s powerful Appropriations Committee.

As far as the timing is concerned, “it just feels like the time,” she said.

Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, who is also a Democrat, has been traveling the state laying the foundation for a run for governor.

Merrill, who has served as House Majority Leader for the past year, is entering an already crowded field exploring a bid for Secretary of the State.

Others running include former New Haven Alderman Gerry Garcia, state Sen. Jonathan Harris, Bloomfield lawyer Corey Brinson, Republican Richard Abbate, state Rep. James Spallone, D-Essex, and Rep. Kevin Roldan, D-Hartford.

“I think I’m the person for the job,” Merrill said.