ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Republican state Rep. Matt Dean is entering the race for governor in 2018.

The seven-term lawmaker from Dellwood announced his bid Thursday. Dean's name has been intertwined with health care for years, and he says that will be the central issue of his campaign.

Dean says Minnesota needs a governor who will lead on health care. As chair of the House health care committee, he's spearheaded the GOP's efforts to abolish MNsure. Dean previously served as House Majority Leader.

He is among the first top-tier candidates in a field of six Republicans that is only expected to grow as both parties vie for the open seat when Gov. Mark Dayton leaves office. Dean plans to abide by the Republican party's endorsement.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press first reported Dean's candidacy.

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