Stanek, ex-Hennepin sheriff, jumps into governor's race

Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek speaks after the board meeting.
Then-Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek speaks in 2017 following a Hennepin County Board meeting. Stanek announced Tuesday he's running for governor to defeat Gov. Tim Walz.
Peter Cox | MPR News

Former Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek said Tuesday he’s running for governor, joining a field of other Republican candidates as Minnesotans head for precinct caucuses Tuesday night.

Stanek, a former Minneapolis police officer, Republican state legislator and public safety commissioner, is a well-known in politics and policing. He narrowly lost a reelection bid as sheriff in 2018. 

In 2004, Stanek stepped down from his position as public safety commissioner in then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s administration after a 1989 court case came to light that revealed Stanek had used racial slurs. Two years later, he was elected Hennepin County sheriff.

He announced his challenge to DFL incumbent Gov. Tim Walz on a campaign website, saying he believes Democrats are allowing lawlessness. In a video announcing his run he vowed as governor to protect public safety, privacy, gun rights and what he called "conservative values." 

State Sens. Michelle Benson and Paul Gazelka, as well as former Sen. Scott Jensen, are among the Republicans already running for governor in the 2022 election.

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