Raines filed pre-candidacy papers with the Secretary of State's Office Tuesday morning. Candidates cannot officially file to run for office until January 2014, but filing pre-candidacy papers allows them to begin fundraising efforts.
"I'd made up my mind to take a stand, make my move and get back to business," she said.
Raines, who only completed her first legislative session last month, said she did not appreciate the infighting she witnessed in the House of Delegates. She said the Senate has a more collegial atmosphere, where individual members wield more influence on bills.
"I feel like I can help more people," she said. "With 100 members, it's a little more difficult to influence legislation."
She said joining the Senate also would help her prevent Republican-backed House bills from being drastically rewritten in the upper chamber.
Raines said Republicans made great gains in the House in the 2012 elections -- the party now holds 46 of the 100 seats there -- and could become the majority party in 2014. She's confident the GOP will find another candidate to take her current seat.
"I'm doing this for the right reasons and I'm willing to take a risk to do it," she said.
There currently are only nine Republicans in the 34-member state Senate.
She said she wants to improve quality of life for citizens of the 17th District, creating more jobs, improving education and reducing government spending.
"A lot of people in the business community have come to me and encouraged me to run," she said, adding union leaders also have expressed interest in her campaign.
According to the Secretary of State's website, Raines is the first candidate to file pre-candidacy papers for the 17th Senate District.
Other Top HeadlinesYeager officials seek new airline to offer direct flight to New York