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Army veteran Kendall Qualls enters GOP race for Minnesota governor

Qualls joins a crowded field of Republican hopefuls vying to take on Gov. Tim Walz in the general election.

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Kendall Qualls, former Minnesota dongressional candidate and founder of TakeCharge MN, speaks at a public meeting about critical race theory at Lafayette Community Center on Tuesday, July 13, 2021, in Duluth.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune
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ST. PAUL — Army veteran and former Congressional candidate Kendall Qualls on Sunday, Jan. 9, launched his bid for governor during a segment on "Fox and Friends."

The GOP hopeful enters an already crowded field aiming to clinch the Minnesota Republican Party's endorsement and nomination. And in his announcement, he said his campaign would "end the anti-American agenda pushed by Gov. Walz" and other Minnesota Democrats.

“I’m running for governor of Minnesota because we are at a crossroads in our country. For over a decade the radical left has morphed the culture of the country where it is not recognizable,” Qualls said in a news release. “We are not going to be the generation that lost the America that we have known and loved."

Qualls is a U.S. Army veteran and former vice president of data management company Triyam. The Republican candidate ran unsuccessfully for Congress in Minnesota's 3rd Congressional District in 2020 and has since launched TakeCharge MN , an organization that promotes the idea that America is "open and available to all individuals regardless of skin color or station in life."

The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and other progressive organizations on Sunday responded to Qualls' announcement saying the Republican used GOP talking points "in order to divide us."

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“Minnesotans in the third congressional district already rejected Kendall Qualls’ candidacy and I have no doubt it will happen again," DFL Party Chair Ken Martin said in a statement. "This move only makes the messy GOP primary messier with no benefit to Minnesotans.”

Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan last year announced their bid for reelection and have not encountered a challenge within the DFL. Republicans Michelle Benson, Paul Gazelka, Scott Jensen, Mike Murphy and Neil Shah have also thrown their hats in the ring to take on Walz in the general election.

Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter @bydanaferguson , call 651-290-0707 or email dferguson@forumcomm.com

Dana Ferguson is a Minnesota Capitol Correspondent for Forum News Service. Ferguson has covered state government and political stories since she joined the news service in 2018, reporting on the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the divided Statehouse and the 2020 election.
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