Patty Wetterling (search), whose son has been missing since his abduction nearly 15 years ago, is taking her prominence as co-founder of national foundation to protect children to make a run for Congress.

"I can do this. I know I can do this," Wetterling told WCCO Radio in Minneapolis before making her announcement later Tuesday morning.

Wetterling is seeking the Democratic nomination in hopes of unseating Republican Rep. Mark Kennedy (search) in Minnesota's 6th District.

It's likely to be the only real contest among Minnesota's U.S. House races this year, said John Shockley, a political science professor at Augsburg College.

In 2000, Kennedy upset four-term Democrat David Minge (search). In 2002, running in a new district after congressional boundaries were redrawn, he easily turned back a challenge from wealthy Democratic attorney Janet Robert.

Wetterling's 11-year-old son, Jacob, was abducted by a masked gunman on Oct. 22, 1989, as the boy rode his bike near his St. Joseph home with his younger brother and friend. Jacob has not been found, and no one has been arrested.

Wetterling co-founded the Jacob Wetterling Foundation (search), which helps families of missing children and conducts education campaigns on child abduction and sex abuse. She co-founded the foundation in 1990 with her husband, Jerry.