Qualls returns to TakeCharge, Stanek drops out 

Third-party candidate Cory Hepola is also out.

Left: Kendall Qualls/Facebook; Right: Rich Stanek/Facebook

The battle for the governor’s mansion will come down to Republican Dr. Scott Jensen and Democratic Gov. Tim Walz.

Former Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek skipped the endorsement process and planned to run in the Republican primary against Jensen, but he didn’t submit his paperwork to the Secretary of State’s Office by Tuesday’s filing deadline.

Third-party candidate Cory Hepola is also out, which most consider to be good news for Walz.

Meanwhile, TakeCharge Minnesota announced this week that Kendall Qualls will resume his role as president of the organization after he stepped down in December to run for governor.

Qualls, who first gained notoriety in 2020 during his unsuccessful race against Rep. Dean Phillips, ran a four-month campaign for the GOP endorsement in the race for governor.

He came up short at the Minnesota GOP’s May 14 convention, losing the endorsement to Jensen after nine rounds of voting.

Alfrieda Baldwin, chairperson of the board for TakeCharge, said the board’s decision to ask Qualls to return was “unanimous,” according to a press release.

“[Qualls] accepted with a minimum two-year commitment, if not longer, to the organization,” Baldwin said.

Qualls noted in a press release that “faith, family and education” are “paramount” in both the black community and society as a whole. The issues society faces are “merely symptoms of the deterioration of all three institutions,” Qualls said.

“I am excited to continue to be able to bring people, ideas, and resources together through TakeCharge’s mission,” he added.

Qualls said he fully endorses Jensen as the Republican nominee for governor.

“I urge all Minnesotans to shift their focus to beating Tim Walz in November because he and the woke left are working every day to take away our freedoms,” Qualls said.

Qualls launched TakeCharge Minnesota in 2021 with a focus on teaching that everyone, regardless of race and position, can take charge of their own lives. TakeCharge aims to “embrace” the core principles of America, not to reject them, and protests the teaching of critical race theory in schools.

A May KSTP poll had Jensen trailing Walz by five points with 13% undecided.