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Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek announced via Facebook that he is running for re-election in 2018, ending speculation that he would seek the Republican nomination for governor.

Stanek, who did not immediately respond to requests for comment, said in the Facebook post: "This work has become personal to me and to my family, and it is with their love and support that I choose to rededicate my efforts for the next four years to this work."

The third-term sheriff is a former commissioner of the state Department of Public Safety and GOP lawmaker and would have been a formidable candidate for governor.

Stanek's decision not to run for governor gives the race more clarity: Rep. Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, Ramsey County Commissioner Blake Huffman and Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson have announced they are running on the Republican side. House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, and several others could also get in the race to succeed DFL Gov. Mark Dayton.