Skip to main content

Former Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek is running for governor.

The 59-year-old announced his candidacy Tuesday with a website and campaign video, during which he touts his law enforcement credentials while emphasizing public safety as his top priority.

"I was a street cop and a sheriff," Stanek says in the nearly 2-minute video. "But no matter what uniform I'm wearing, my goal has always been the same. Uphold the law, protect my neighbors."

Stanek served as sheriff of Minnesota's largest county from 2007 to 2019, when he was defeated by current Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson. 

Prior to that, he spent 20 years working as a Minneapolis police officer. During that span he also served five terms as a state representative and spent about 15 months as commissioner of The Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

He resigned from the latter post over accusations he screamed racial slurs at a Liberian man while on duty as a police officer in 1989, MinnPost has previously reported, and during a deposition Stanek admitted to telling racist jokes with other officers.

MinnPost has pointed out he also faced scrutiny for claims he made about the response to the I-35W bridge collapse, and for sending Hennepin County law enforcement officers to North Dakota during protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Stanek, in his gubernatorial campaign video, describes himself as a "lifelong conservative, also saying: "I'm proud of the work I've done."

"But today, our streets are flooded with violence," he continues, while showing clips from civil unrest during the spring of 2020. The scenes came in the wake of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's murder of George Floyd. The video also includes images of Gov. Tim Walz and Rep. Ilhan Omar, as well as lawmakers who are not elected to represent Minnesota including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Stanek accuses Democrats of using "a few bad actors" to target law enforcement institutions, 

"We need leaders who build bridges instead of burning them," the former sheriff continues, "who call for understanding instead of unrest, and protect our communities instead of bowing to the socialist left."

Near the end of the video, Stanek also mentions securing elections, jobs and the economy, privacy, the Second Amendment and putting "an end to lockdowns and mandates."

Related [Dec. 16, 2021]: At GOP gubernatorial debate, all 5 candidates suggest Biden's win wasn't legitimate

Stanek joins a fairly crowded Republican field vying to challenge Walz, including Sen. Michelle Benson, Sen. Paul Gazelka, Dr. Scott Jensen, Mayor Mike Murphy and Dr. Neil Shah.

Walz has said he is running for re-election, with Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan returning to run alongside him.

The election will be held Nov. 8, 2022.

Next Up

storm, severe weather, derecho

Hail and tornadoes possible Thursday in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin

Storms are expected to fire along a warm front draped across southern Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2021-04-23 at 8.02.52 AM

Bde Maka Ska pavilion construction begins next week

The former lakeside food stand, home to Lola on the Lake, caught fire in 2019.

Pixabay - laptop computer dark screen

Undercover child sex sting sees 4 men arrested in St. Louis Park

One of the men is being held as he's in a position of authority of power over children.


New Raptor Center data shows 'substantial drop' in bird flu patients

However, the virus remains a serious health threat for birds.

Screen Shot 2022-05-18 at 6.16.34 PM

Suspect kills himself after shooting woman and baby at Fargo restaurant

The suspect was found dead in a stolen vehicle in Minnesota.

CK Kyle Kasio

Charges: Guest stabbed three men as they slept in Albert Lea

Investigators believe the suspect is related to all three victims.

Kandiyohi County Courthouse

2 charged for fentanyl overdose death of 19-year-old

The-19-year-old died from a fentanyl overdose last month.

storm, severe weather

Severe thunderstorm watch: Hail, 65 mph gusts, tornadoes possible

The watch is just north of the Twin Cities metro area.

Lake Minnetonka

The staggering rise of Minnesota's most famous lakes this spring

Imagine dumping Lake Minnetonka into Lake Superior 47 times.

Marijuana, cannabis

Minnesota Senate shoots down latest marijuana legalization attempt

The bill didn't receive the required votes for further consideration on Wednesday.


Minneapolis wants to use $1M in federal cash to plant 200,000 trees

The goal is to have these trees planted by the year 2040.


Screen Shot 2021-05-27 at 9.29.03 AM

Scrutiny over GOP candidate's 'help from Mr. Putin' comment

He's facing scrutiny from another Republican candidate and some Democrats.

rich stanek governor video screengrab

GOP candidate Rich Stanek to limit campaign activity following car crash

Stanek had previously stated he intended to return to campaigning just a few days after the April 12 crash.

Hennepin County Sheriff Stanek is seeking re-election – not a run for governor

This announcement ends speculation that he'd run, and makes the Republican race for governor a bit more clear.

Dave Hutchinson

Hennepin Co. sheriff won't seek re-election, won't resign after DWI

Documents show he was going 125 mph before he crashed and lied to law enforcement at the scene.

vote, election

Walz announces special election to fill seat of late Rep. Hagedorn

There will be a two-week filing period beginning March 1.

kim crockett facebook sos

Republican who doubts 2020 election results wants to oversee MN elections

Kim Crockett announced she is running for Secretary of State in 2022.

joe biden oct 2020 - GPA PHoto Archive, Flickr

At GOP gubernatorial debate, all 5 candidates cast doubt on Biden's win

Each of the Republican hopefuls, without evidence, sowed doubt about the 2020 election.

Screen Shot 2021-05-27 at 9.29.03 AM

Dr. Scott Jensen wins GOP straw poll for governor

Jensen easily outpaced the other GOP candidates, though fell short of a majority.