CANDIDATE PROFILES: 2022 Minnesota Gubernatorial race
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS is tracking all of the candidates participating in the 2022 midterm elections.
Read about each Minnesota gubernatorial candidate via the profiles below.
KSTP’s complete elections coverage
Gov. Tim Walz (DFL)
Incumbent Gov. Tim Walz (DFL) is running for a second term. A longtime high school social studies teacher and a 24-year veteran of the Army National Guard, Walz was first elected to public office in 2006, representing Minnesota’s 1st District in Congress for 12 years before successfully running for governor in 2018. The Walz campaign touts the state’s investment in education, record-low unemployment and response to the COVID-19 pandemic among his administration’s top achievements.
Walz, 58, was born in West Point, Nebraska, and graduated from Chadron State College in 1989. He and his wife Gwen, a fellow teacher, moved to Mankato in 1996, and they began working at Mankato West High School.
Incumbent Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan — a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe and the first Native American woman elected to statewide office in Minnesota — is again running as Walz’s running mate.
Scott Jensen (GOP)
Republican Scott Jensen is a family practice physician who represented Minnesota’s 47th Senate District for one term from 2017-21. Before his time in the Minnesota Senate, he sat on the Waconia School Board from 1993-2002. Jensen rose to prominence in the Republican Party during the pandemic as an outspoken critic of Gov. Walz’s COVID-19 policies. He has also campaigned on phasing out individual income tax and addressing violent crime.
Jensen, 67, was born and raised in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota. He went to the University of Minnesota for his undergraduate studies before attending Luther Theological Seminary. He later went back to the U of M for medical school and completed a family practice residency at Bethesda Hospital. Jensen began his private medical practice in Watertown, Minnesota, and later moved to Chaska, his current home. He has been married to his wife, Mary, for 43 years, according to his campaign website.
Former Minnesota Vikings center Matt Birk, who received an economics degree from Harvard University, is running for lieutenant governor alongside Jensen.
Steve Patterson (GLC)
Grassroots Legalize Cannabis candidate Steve Patterson is the owner of Lansing Corners Bar and Grill in Austin, Minnesota. He previously worked as a hospital security officer, according to his campaign website. He is campaigning on legalizing recreational cannabis, prioritizing access to mental health resources and making Minnesota a “Castle Doctrine” state.
Patterson graduated from Lake City Lincoln High School in 2007 and got a two-year degree from Rochester Community and Technical College before getting a bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Winona State University.
Lieutenant governor candidate Matthew Huff is paired with Patterson on the ballot.
James McCaskel (LMN)
James McCaskel, 25, is a Minneapolis native who describes himself as a community organizer. According to his campaign website, he became homeless as a teenager and dropped out of high school, later earning his GED. His campaign website lists legalizing marijuana, protecting abortion access, fighting violent crime and investing in skilled trades as his priorities.
Political activist David Sandbeck is the Legal Marijuana Now candidate for lieutenant governor.