By WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — While Gov. Tim Walz has yet to say that he’s running for re-election next year, his campaign announced Tuesday that it’s hiring staff and has broken fundraising records.

In a statement, the campaign said that the governor has raised just over $1.7 million since he took office, setting a new record for a Minnesota governor two years into their term. The campaign says that at the end of last year it had $1.3 million in cash on hand and added another $550,000 just last month. The campaign credits the record fundraising to strong support from Minnesotans across the state.

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“This has been a challenging year for all of us, so to know that Minnesotans continue to believe in our message of One Minnesota is truly heartening,” the governor said in a statement. “The fundraising success that we have achieved in these first two years illustrates that our unifying message can carry the day at a time when politics feels all too divisive.”

Walz has faced strong pushback from Republicans in how he’s handled the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, particularly in regards to using executive orders to place restraints on businesses. He also came under scrutiny for the state’s slow response to the riots in the Twin Cities following the death of George Floyd last May in Minneapolis police custody.

While Walz has yet to officially announce he’ll be in the 2022 gubernatorial race, his campaign says he’s beginning to hire staff and build up a ground game.

Over the weekend, WCCO-TV’s Esme Murphy asked Walz on WCCO Sunday Morning if he’s going to run for re-election. The governor responded that his primary goal is to deal with the ongoing pandemic.

“Right now my job is to get Minnesotans out of this,” he said, adding: “These are hard decisions, they aren’t all going to be perfect.”

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In the 2018 election, Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan campaigned on the promise of uniting the state under the slogan of One Minnesota, defeating Republican candidate Jeff Johnson.