Paul Gazelka announces campaign for governor 

"Tim Walz says he wants one Minnesota, but I’ve never seen Minnesotans more divided," said Gazelka.

Republican Sen. Paul Gazelka announces his campaign for governor at the Capitol Wednesday. (Paul Gazelka/Facebook)

Republican Sen. Paul Gazelka announced his campaign for governor in the rotunda of the Minnesota State Capitol Wednesday.

“Fellow Minnesotans, I’m honored to be in this majestic building, the seat of our state government, to announce my candidacy for governor of the state of Minnesota,” said Gazelka, flanked by his wife and a crowd of supporters.

Gazelka stepped down as Senate majority leader last week, a move many assumed would lead to a gubernatorial campaign. The Republican from East Gull Lake was first elected to the Senate in 2010 and had served as majority leader since 2016.

“I know what makes Minnesota great: it’s our people,” Gazelka said. “For all this tremendous human potential that our state holds, we need to look seriously at the crossroads that we are at right now. This is a very important moment for Minnesota.”

“Tim Walz’s irresponsible shutdown, based on his lack of understanding of the scientific data, closed hundreds of restaurants and small businesses across the state, bankrupting many of them,” added Gazelka, who led the Senate Republican caucus in voting several times to strip Walz of his emergency powers.

“His inexcusable absence of leadership during the riots endangered countless families, businesses, and communities, and his careless statements about our National Guard, police, and peace officers created unfair mistrust in them and put their lives at risk,” he continued.

Gazelka also criticized the incumbent for “failing an entire generation of children” by shutting down schools and unilaterally abusing emergency powers without taking any input from the Minnesota Legislature.

“Tim Walz says he wants one Minnesota, but I’ve never seen Minnesotans more divided, angry, and afraid than they are today,” he said.

Other candidates seeking the GOP endorsement include Dr. Scott Jensen, Dr. Neil Shah, Sen. Michelle Benson, Lexington Mayor Mike Murphy, and businessman Mike Marti.