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Former Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek is running for governor.

The 59-year-old announced his candidacy Tuesday with a website and campaign video, during which he touts his law enforcement credentials while emphasizing public safety as his top priority.

"I was a street cop and a sheriff," Stanek says in the nearly 2-minute video. "But no matter what uniform I'm wearing, my goal has always been the same. Uphold the law, protect my neighbors."

Stanek served as sheriff of Minnesota's largest county from 2007 to 2019, when he was defeated by current Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson. 

Prior to that, he spent 20 years working as a Minneapolis police officer. During that span he also served five terms as a state representative and spent about 15 months as commissioner of The Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

He resigned from the latter post over accusations he screamed racial slurs at a Liberian man while on duty as a police officer in 1989, MinnPost has previously reported, and during a deposition Stanek admitted to telling racist jokes with other officers.

MinnPost has pointed out he also faced scrutiny for claims he made about the response to the I-35W bridge collapse, and for sending Hennepin County law enforcement officers to North Dakota during protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Stanek, in his gubernatorial campaign video, describes himself as a "lifelong conservative, also saying: "I'm proud of the work I've done."

"But today, our streets are flooded with violence," he continues, while showing clips from civil unrest during the spring of 2020. The scenes came in the wake of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's murder of George Floyd. The video also includes images of Gov. Tim Walz and Rep. Ilhan Omar, as well as lawmakers who are not elected to represent Minnesota including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Stanek accuses Democrats of using "a few bad actors" to target law enforcement institutions, 

"We need leaders who build bridges instead of burning them," the former sheriff continues, "who call for understanding instead of unrest, and protect our communities instead of bowing to the socialist left."

Near the end of the video, Stanek also mentions securing elections, jobs and the economy, privacy, the Second Amendment and putting "an end to lockdowns and mandates."

Related [Dec. 16, 2021]: At GOP gubernatorial debate, all 5 candidates suggest Biden's win wasn't legitimate

Stanek joins a fairly crowded Republican field vying to challenge Walz, including Sen. Michelle Benson, Sen. Paul Gazelka, Dr. Scott Jensen, Mayor Mike Murphy and Dr. Neil Shah.

Walz has said he is running for re-election, with Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan returning to run alongside him.

The election will be held Nov. 8, 2022.

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