The first Republican candidate has joined the race for Minnesota governor.

Mike Murphy, mayor of the small town of Lexington in Anoka County, said while he will be an underdog, he hopes to bring a message of unity to the gubernatorial race and represent "everyday people."

"I want to be a unifier. I want to help people. I'm willing to work with anybody," he said.

Murphy, 36, has served on the Lexington City Council since 2016 and has been mayor since 2019. He also owns a couple of UPS stores with his father, he said.

His priorities include lowering the state income tax, raising teacher salaries and expanding health care options for small businesses and workers. He said he is a conservative but does not fall in with the "far right wing." Murphy said he would not cut funding for social programs. He suggested legalizing sports betting and possibly marijuana, "if done correctly," to support spending priorities.

He opposes Democratic Gov. Tim Walz's proposed tax increases and said the governor is "just not doing the One Minnesota campaign slogan he promised." Walz's campaign announced Tuesday that he has raised more than $1.7 million since he took office and ended last year with $1.3 million in cash on hand. While the governor hasn't officially announced he's running for a second term, the Walz campaign is starting to gear up for the 2022 election and hire staff.