Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell (search) filed papers Thursday to run again for the office she took over last year when her predecessor resigned amid a corruption scandal.

Rell was to formally announce her candidacy Friday for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in 2006. Her filing came as little surprise; she has said for weeks that she was leaning toward running.

Rell, 59, was thrust into the state's top job in July 2004, just months before former Gov. John G. Rowland (search) was sentenced to a yearlong federal prison sentence on a corruption-related charge. He is scheduled to be released from prison in February.

Since then, Rell, a former lieutenant governor, has tried to distance herself from her former running mate, pushing for reforms to state contracting, campaign finance and ethics laws (search).

Rell joins two Democratic mayors, John DeStefano of New Haven and Dan Malloy of Stamford, in the race.

Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz said the governor's nearly 80 percent approval rating in Connecticut gives her the advantage. "She's clearly the favorite," he said.

Rell was first elected lieutenant governor in 1994. She was re-elected with Rowland in 1998 and 2002. Before that, she was a member of the state House for ten years.