Republican Kendall Qualls announced Tuesday that he is stepping down as president of TakeCharge, a nonprofit he founded earlier this year, prompting speculation that he will be running for governor of Minnesota.
Qualls first gained notoriety in 2020 during his unsuccessful bid against Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips in Minnesota’s Third Congressional District. A few months later, he launched TakeCharge, which has focused on inspiring a “new movement in the black community to return it to its cultural roots of faith, family and education.”
“Since founding TakeCharge a year ago, we’ve worked to change a narrative that has affected generations in the black community,” Qualls said Tuesday.
Some Republican activists find Qualls’ background so compelling that they’ve launched a “Draft Kendall Qualls for Governor” committee. Their efforts have apparently been successful as Qualls is expected to announce his campaign in the coming weeks. If he does, he would join five other Republicans seeking to take on Democratic Gov. Tim Walz in 2022.
“I spent part of my early childhood with my mother in drug and gang-infested Harlem in the late 1960s after my parents divorced. Three years later, I moved to a trailer park in Oklahoma with my father in the early 1970s. After that dismal start, I never thought I would experience the life I’m living today. The catalyst that helped me achieve those dreams is embedded in the core principles of our country: hard work, education, and, in my case, the Christian faith,” Qualls wrote in an August commentary for Alpha News.
As the founder of TakeCharge, Qualls has advocated for banning critical race theory in public schools and granting all families the right to school choice. His wife, Sheila, will take over as executive director of TakeCharge and school choice advocate Alfrieda Baldwin was named board chair.