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Former Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek Running For Governor

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Former Hennepin County sheriff Rich Stanek announced Tuesday he will run for governor in Minnesota.

Stanek is at least the fifth Republican to join the race to unseat Democratic Gov. Tim Walz.

"I'm running for governor because the Democrats in charge are letting lawlessness run rampant and using the actions of a few bad actors to wage an all-out war on law enforcement," Stanek said in his campaign announcement video. "I'm a lifelong conservative. I care about Minnesota and our future."

In his announcement, Stanek promises to "secure our elections, jumpstart jobs and our economy, protect our privacy, preserve the Second Amendment and put an end to lockdowns and mandates."

Stanek served as Hennepin County sheriff from 2006 until current Sheriff David Hutchinson was elected in 2018.

Other Republican candidates in the race include former Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, Sen. Michelle Benson, Kendall Qualls, a veteran who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2020 and Scott Jensen, a former state senator and physician.

Walz announced he would seek a second term as governor in October.

"Rich Stanek spent his political career mired in inappropriate controversy and disgraced himself by repeatedly using the n-word and defending his use of it," DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin said in response to Stanek's announcement. "His repeated use of racial slurs, his long standing opposition to common-sense gun safety measures, and the multiple police brutality lawsuits against him make him unfit for the office of governor and a downright dangerous option for Minnesotans."

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