Zellers held his campaign's kickoff event Sunday in his hometown of Maple Grove. He becomes the third Republican campaigning to challenge Democratic Governor Mark Dayton next year.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Zellers described himself as "every Minnesotan." He talked about getting laid off and struggling to pay household bills. He said he'll bring that perspective to preparing state budgets that go easier on taxpayers.
Businessman Scott Honour and Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson are also running. That list is expected to grow.
Like Honour, Zellers plans to run in the GOP primary for the seat even if he doesn't get the party endorsement.