State Rep. Andy Patrick, R-Hilton Head Island, filed paperwork today to run in the 1st congressional race, saying he would try to help balance the nation’s budget and shrink government while preserving a strong military.

At least 16 candidates — mostly Republicans — have indicated that they plan to run for the seat formerly held by newly appointed U.S. Sen. Tim Scott. That doesn’t include state Rep. Jim Merrill, R-Daniel Island, who dropped his plans to run this weekend.

The official field will be set as soon as filing closes at noon Monday. The primaries will be held March 19, and the general election is set for May 7.