In the News: Kendall Qualls “Banks on Outsider Status in GOP Bid for Governor”
MINNEAPOLIS – Comparing Republican gubernatorial candidate Kendall Qualls to the Virginia model, the veteran and former businessman was recently featured in a Star Tribune article highlighting his Conservative outsider status. With a promise to fix Minnesota’s rampant crime, high tax burden, and declining graduation rates, Qualls’ appeal to voters is centered around his rags to riches story coupled with his leadership experience both in the military and private business sector.
Read more about Kendall’s feature in the Star Tribune here.
“Kendall Qualls’ run for governor is a campaign of narratives between the life story he tells as part of his pitch to lead the GOP’s ticket this fall and the progressive agendas he vigorously opposes. …
… running as an outsider in a consequential election year. He is betting on that status being an asset. And for what he lacks in electoral experience, Qualls has quickly attracted a deep bench of established GOP party hands and nationally known personalities to help run his quest to challenge DFL Gov. Tim Walz this fall.
“I’m launching from a different platform,” he said, comparing this year to his first run for office in 2020. “A much more significant amount of people know me and trust my background.”
The ex-health care executive and U.S. Army veteran is vying to become the first Black governor in Minnesota’s history. He is quick to point to his upbringing in Harlem and a trailer park in rural Oklahoma as evidence both of the potential he believes America still offers and as a counterpoint in his ongoing argument against the existence of systemic racism.
Qualls launched his campaign in January in an exclusive live interview on “Fox & Friends.” Since then, much of his campaign’s messaging has mirrored conservative grievances about rising crime, economic woes and social issues often seen on the network’s morning talk shows. …
… Qualls lives with his wife, Sheila, in Medina. The couple, who have five children, founded TakeCharge MN at the end of 2020. The organization promotes two-parent families and opposes critical race theory, an academic framework that is not taught in Minnesota public schools.
“A lot of Minnesotans and a lot of Americans are getting fatigued by the wokeness, the left, the bullying and the accusations of racism,” said Qualls. “Let’s make a distinction: We have racist people in this country who do bad stuff, I fully acknowledge that … but the country is not systemically racist.
Qualls’ campaign attracted Michele Tafoya, the longtime Sunday Night Football sideline reporter who became his campaign co-chair the morning after she made this year’s Super Bowl her final night on the job.
“Kendall is not part of the establishment and that is one of things I love so much about him,” Tafoya said in an interview. “He wants to go in and make changes. That happens when you have outsiders, that happens when you have people who think outside the box. …
… “People are nostalgic for who we used to be,” Qualls said.”