Spencer to run against Spratt

After weeks of hedging, Albert Spencer made it official Saturday: He'll run for the U.S. House seat held by 13-term incumbent John Spratt.

Spencer filed paperwork Saturday with the state Republican Party. Spratt filed last week. Neither candidate made a formal announcement.

In 2004, Spencer raised no money and didn't buy any advertising, yet managed to earn 37 percent of the vote in a year when President Bush headlined the top of the Republican ticket.

Spencer won't have the same advantages this time. Polls show presidential nominee John McCain generates less excitement in the GOP base, while enthusiasm is stronger among Democrats still deciding between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

During the 2004 campaign, Spencer focused largely on his opposition to abortion. He supports school vouchers and believes that families who send their children to private schools shouldn't be forced to pay taxes to public school districts.

Spencer also favors continuing the war in Iraq.

Spratt, of York, has $387,000 cash on hand, according to the most recent filing reports. Spencer said he still is reaching out to potential donors to gauge his level of support.