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State races: governor, attorney general, secretary of state

By: Stuart Sudak
Panel of Candidates

Three notable statewide races will be decided on Nov. 8.

In the governor’s race, Democratic incumbents Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan are running against Republican challengers Scott Jensen and Matt Birk.

For attorney general, Democratic incumbent Keith Ellison will face Republican challenger Jim Schultz. Democratic incumbent Steve Simon will face Republican challenger Kim Crockett in the secretary of state’s race.


Walz, 58, a former school teacher and U.S. congressman, has been governor since 2019. His tenure as governor has been marked by the George Floyd protests and the COVID-19 pandemic.

On public safety, Walz touts helping pass public safety reforms to tackle and reduce gun violence while also reforming policing. On the state’s pandemic response, Walz’s campaign website says his “decisive leadership saved lives and helped our economy recover quickly.”

The administration also heralds “overcoming unprecedented challenges to provide historic investment in education, prioritize clean energy, create new good-paying jobs, and invest in small businesses and economic development.”

Jensen, 67, a doctor from Chaska who served in the Minnesota Senate from 2017 to 2021, was spurred to run for governor after voicing skepticism on the COVID-19 vaccine and the state’s response to the pandemic.

If elected, he vows never to let lockdowns happen again. He adds that lockdowns under Walz’s leadership harmed children by forcing them to lose time in the classroom.

Other issues Jensen highlights are addressing the state’s crime epidemic, “getting serious” on inflation and the economy, and wanting to “fund kids, not broken institutions.” He adds that the Second Amendment should be protected, and that integrity in the election process needs to be restored.

Attorney General

Ellison, 59, the attorney general since 2019, describes himself as a criminal justice reform and accountability leader.

On his website, he touts several accomplishments, including keeping Minnesota families and communities safe, fighting pandemic profiteering and illegal evictions, and protecting small businesses from unfair competition.

Schultz, 36, is an attorney who lives in Minnetonka. He will prioritize public safety, supporting and funding the police, and prosecuting criminals if elected.

Other issues Schultz favors include restoring the trust in the integrity of the election system, defending the constitution, and protecting small businesses from government overreach.

Secretary of State

Simon, 52, of Hopkins, has been secretary of state since 2015. During this tenure, Simon notes on his website that Minnesota has led the nation in voter turnout for the past three elections.

His priorities include defending democracy, strengthening the freedom to vote for all eligible Minnesotans, and pushing against dangerous disinformation about elections.

Crockett, 62, of Excelsior, said restoring confidence in elections is why she decided to run.  According to her campaign website, she wants to “restore confidence in Minnesota’s elections by enforcing the laws on the books and working with the legislature, and election officials across the state, to improve the administration of the vote.”

According to the non-partisan States United Democracy Center, Crockett is one of 11 major party secretary of state candidates running in this year’s elections who deny the results of the 2020 election.