U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat, announces his run for governor in Golden, Colorado on Sunday, April 9, 2017.

(Allison Sherry/CPR News)

Rep. Ed Perlmutter joined the increasingly crowded race for governor Sunday with a pledge to boost the economy in the outer parts of the state.

Citing his prowess in retail politics, Perlmutter said he looked forward to talking to people in rural areas and places like Pueblo and Grand Junction.

"I'm someone who has been listening to my neighbors," he said. "I've heard for years about their concerns, their ideas, their dreams for the future. I've gone door to door for a long time. I feel like I've had a chance to hear from the hardworking people in the middle. Nobody is real rich and nobody is real poor."

Perlmutter joins a growing field of people who say they intend to run for the open seat, which Gov. John Hickenlooper vacates next year. Among the Democrats, former state Sen. Mike Johnston is already campaigning and former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy intends to announce Monday. Republican George Brauchler announced his campaign last week.

Republicans say they will target Perlmutter's seat.

“This district is a very real pickup opportunity for Republicans," said National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Matt Gorman, "and the NRCC will continue working to put credible candidates on the field who will flip this seat in 2018.”

Perlmutter, who lives in Jefferson County, is serving his seventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

"We don't agree with everything politically, but that's alright," said Ivan Geisler, who donned a "Vets for Ed" T-shirt and said he appreciated Perlmutter's work on the new VA hospital out in Aurora. "He takes care of his constituents and he cares about us."