Republican Rep. George Nethercutt (search), who in 1994 toppled U.S. House Speaker Tom Foley, said Wednesday he will challenge Democratic incumbent Patty Murray (searchfor the Senate in 2004.

Nethercutt, 58, a favorite of the White House, will give up his congressional seat to make the run. He said he met last week with President Bush, who encouraged him to get into the race.

Murray, a rising Democratic star in the Senate, is seeking a third term.

When Nethercutt took on Foley in 1994, no sitting House speaker had been ousted since 1862.

Bush's original favorite for the GOP nomination, Rep. Jennifer Dunn (search), declined to run.