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The other black Republican elected to the House in November has said he will join the caucus. Rep.-elect Allen West of Florida wants to steer the group away from what he called failing liberal policies.

MISSOURI

McCaskill gets first Senate challenger

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. | Former Missouri Treasurer Sarah Steelman launched a challenge Wednesday to Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, seeking to gain some early momentum by becoming the first Republican to enter the 2012 race.

Mrs. Steelman announced her candidacy on a revamped website that now declares “Sarah Steelman for U.S. Senate 2012.”

Other prominent Republicans considering the race include former Sen. Jim Talent, whom Mrs. McCaskill narrowly defeated in 2006. Mr. Talent recently told the Associated Press that he plans to make a decision by early 2011. A Talent spokeswoman did not immediately respond Wednesday to a request for comment about Mrs. Steelman’s announcement.