The Potluck

Kendall Qualls announces bid for governor on ‘Fox & Friends Weekend’

By: - January 10, 2022 6:45 am

Kendall Qualls announced his bid for Minnesota governor on “Fox & Friends Weekend” on Jan. 9, 2022.

In a brief appearance on “Fox & Friends Weekend” Sunday morning, former congressional candidate Kendall Qualls formally announced his bid for Minnesota governor.

“When you look at my life, it is the living case study that the promise of America is alive and well, regardless of race, regardless of social standing,” Qualls told the Fox News hosts.

Qualls, a Black Army veteran and health care executive, is using his biography to stand out from a crowded field of Republican candidates hoping to unseat DFL Gov. Tim Walz, including former state Sen. Scott Jensen of Chaska; state Sens. Paul Gazelka of East Gull Lake and Michelle Benson of Ham Lake. Walz faces no opponents from within his own party.

The “Fox & Friends Weekend” segment begins with host Pete Hegseth, a Minnesota native, reading highlights from Quall’s life: “A child in the housing projects of Harlem becomes the first in his family to graduate. Kendall Qualls then served as an Army artillery officer and had a successful career at a top Fortune 500 company.”

After telling the hosts that “the promise of America is alive and well,” Qualls pivoted to another key focus of 2022 campaigns across the country: rising violent crime.

“We’re fighting because in our state, it was ground zero on the rioting, looting and defunding the police initiatives (that) all started (here) and spread across the country,” Qualls told the Fox News hosts. “And even now, two years laters, we’re suffering from record crime across our state.”

The segment lasted a minute and a half, with one host cutting Qualls off in the middle of a sentence. He was not asked any questions.

Qualls has been testing the waters for months, hosting events across the state with his group TakeCharge Minnesota, whose mission is to “counter the prevailing narrative in popular culture that America is structured to undermine the lives of Black Americans.”

Through their speaking events, Qualls and his wife have promoted two-parent households as a solution to racial inequities and railed against schools teaching “Critical Race Theory,” a term often erroneously used as a catch-all for diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in K-12 schools.

In 2020, Qualls lost his race to represent Minnesota’s Third Congressional District in 2020 against U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips by more than 11 points. Last fall, GOP activists launched a political committee called “Draft Kendall Qualls” to urge him to run.

Minnesota Republicans have not won a race for governor since 2006, when Tim Pawlenty won re-election.

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Max Nesterak
Max Nesterak

Max Nesterak is the deputy editor of the Reformer and reports on labor and housing. Most recently he was an associate producer for Minnesota Public Radio after a stint at NPR. He also co-founded the Behavioral Scientist and was a Fulbright Scholar to Berlin, Germany.