Nov 24, 2021 - Politics

Former congressional candidate Kendall Qualls weighs run for Minnesota governor

Kendall Qualls

Kendall Qualls. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Another Republican candidate might soon join the race to challenge Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz next year.

What's new: Kendall Qualls, who lost a bid against DFL U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips in a suburban Minneapolis seat in 2020, is giving "very serious consideration" to a run for governor, a GOP source familiar with his plans confirmed to Axios.

  • A decision is expected by early 2022 at the latest.

State of play: The GOP primary has already attracted several serious candidates, including former Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, Sen. Michelle Benson and Scott Jensen, a physician and former state senator.

Bio in brief: Qualls, an Army veteran and former executive at health care technology companies, lost to Phillips by more than 10 points in the 3rd Congressional District.

  • He's recently been touring the state on behalf of TakeCharge MN, an organization he founded to "[counter] the prevailing narrative in popular culture that America is structured to undermine the lives of Black Americans." 
  • He's also been vocal about his opposition to the concept of critical race theory, an academic movement focused on systemic racism, especially in U.S. law.

The bottom line: A late entry by Qualls could shake up the GOP field.

  • But raising cash and winning over delegates to secure the party's endorsement on a shorter timeline would be a challenge.

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