Michelle Benson announces bid for governor; Paul Gazelka steps down as leader 

Benson made her announcement official with a kickoff event in Blaine Wednesday morning.

Sen. Michelle Benson (Photo courtesy of Michelle for Minnesota)

State Sen. Michelle Benson is seeking the Republican nomination for Minnesota governor, she announced Wednesday morning, just moments after Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka stepped down from his leadership role.

Gazelka’s resignation as Senate leader likely points to a run for governor, but he hasn’t made that official yet.

“I plan to be a part of that future success but look forward to letting someone else take over serving as leader while I pursue the next chapter in my political life,” he wrote in a letter to his Senate colleagues.

Benson is the fifth candidate to enter the race on the Republican side and the first female to seek the GOP endorsement.

“An extreme agenda is dividing us with radical, leftist policies that aren’t Minnesotan. Trying to defund the police while crime rates are skyrocketing. Shutting down schools, and crippling neighborhood businesses, when the science and common sense says it’s safe to keep them open. I’ve seen enough, and it’s time to get to work,” she said in a press release.

Benson made her announcement official with a kickoff event in Blaine, where she was joined by her family and a crowd of supporters. She wasted no time in criticizing the incumbent, saying Gov. Tim Walz “belittles those who ask questions” and “creates a divide in our state that grows wider each day he’s in office.”

Benson emphasized her small-town roots throughout the speech and said she’s been to Greater Minnesota enough to “know they felt very differently than the metro about some of the actions the governor took during COVID.”

Currently in her third full term, Benson resides in Ham Lake with her husband and three kids and works as a certified public accountant.


Anthony Gockowski

Anthony Gockowski is Editor-in-Chief of Alpha News. He previously worked as an editor for The Minnesota Sun and Campus Reform, and wrote for the Daily Caller.