Former Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer said Thursday he might run for South Carolina's new 7th Congressional District covering the Grand Strand and beyond.

"I am thinking about it," Bauer said Thursday of the 2012 election. "I have been making a lot of calls to business leaders and community leaders. I'm excited. I've been getting great response."

Bauer, whose sister lives in Mount Pleasant and whose mother lives at Folly Beach, resided in Charleston during much of his eight-year tenure as lieutenant governor.

He moved to Greenville as he prepared to run for governor in 2008.

He then moved to Myrtle Beach this year.

"Like most people, I retired and moved to the coast," Bauer joked.

Bauer said he expects to make a decision soon as to whether to run.

Republican state Rep. Thad Viers of Myrtle Beach already has entered the race, as has Democrat Parnell Diggs, a former president of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina.

Others said to be considering a bid include state Rep. Alan Clemmons, R-North Myrtle Beach, conservative author Mande Wilkes and Georgetown County businessman Jim Mader.

South Carolina gained a seat in Congress as a result of population growth reflected in the 2010 census.