U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber announced Sunday that he won’t run for governor in 2022, ending months of speculation about the two-term Republican’s political ambitions.
Stauber represents the traditionally blue Eighth Congressional District in northern Minnesota and is the first Republican to win back-to-back terms in the district since the 1940s.
“I am not going to be running for governor,” the retired law enforcement officer told KSTP in a Sunday interview. “I am going to put the Eighth District constituents first.”
Stauber said in a statement that he remains “laser focused on fighting relentlessly for my constituents in the Eighth District and defending our way of life,” but criticized Gov. Tim Walz for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Let me be clear: we need someone who can step up and beat Gov. Walz and hold him accountable for his gross mismanagement of our state and his troubling unilateral rule, with no input from the Legislature, on decisions that have negatively impacted Minnesota for the past 12 months,” said Stauber.
He said the governor has “suffocated our small businesses” and based his decisions on “faulty data.”
“His misguided decisions have devastated our nursing homes and vulnerable seniors and for too many months kept our public schools closed, severely impacting our children who are falling further and further behind,” Stauber added.
He also attacked Walz for “sitting on his hands” while Minneapolis burned.
Stauber’s announcement comes after physician and former Republican legislator Scott Jensen revealed that he will run for governor in next year’s election.