Former Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka made it official today at the State Capitol announcing he’s running for governor. Gazelka told supporters that the thing that makes Minnesota great is its people. Gazelka says he’s “concerned about the direction in which the state is headed” and says he is running for governor to change that direction. Specifically, Gazelka went after current Governor Tim Walz for his handling of COVID, saying “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.” Gazelka also hammered Walz for his handling of unrest in the wake of George Floyd’s death and said “Tim Walz says he wants one Minnesota, but I’ve never seen Minnesotans more divided, angry and afraid than they are today.” In response, the DFL says Gazelka’s decision to hold a maskless superspreader event led to a COVID-19 outbreak among lawmakers and Senator Jerry Relph died from COVID-19 complications from the event. And the DFL accuses Gazelka of putting his political agenda over the health and safety of Minnesotans. Several other Republicans have announced their candidacies, including fellow State Senator Michelle Benson and former state senator and physician Scott Jensen. Governor Tim Walz has not said whether he will run for re-election.