ST. PAUL -- Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka Wednesday announced he's stepping down as Leader.

In a statement, Gazelka says "five years ago, under bittersweet conditions, I was honored to be elected leader of the Senate Republican Caucus. I have those same bittersweet feelings today as I announce my intention to step aside."

Gazelka says leading the caucus has been one of the most rewarding experiences of his life. Gazelka says he plans to be a part of the future success of the party, but he looks forward to letting someone else take over serving as a leader while he pursues the next chapter in his political life.

Wednesday's resignation is stoking speculation that Gazelka is going to announce a bid for governor.

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Meanwhile, the official field of Republicans running for governor will increase by one today.

(Photo: Minnesota State Senate)

State Senator Michelle Benson from Ham Lake jumped in the race for Minnesota Governor, posting a campaign ad to YouTube late Tuesday. Benson took aim at Democrats with imagery of cutting weeds from a farm field.

Their extreme agenda, it's dividing us, with radical leftist policies, trying to defund the police, shutting down schools, and crippling neighborhood businesses.

Benson is expected to formally launch her campaign at 10 AM Wednesday at a machining company in Blaine.

This story is courtesy of the Minnesota News Network. 

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