Leading up to the mid-term elections, American Police Officers Alliance is presenting a series of posts about important races across the country. We’re looking next at several levels of races all involving former law enforcement professionals in Minnesota that span from the federal level with Pete Stauber’s upset run for US Representative, to three State Representative races, to a Sheriff race that will affect Minneapolis, the state’s largest city.
Law Enforcement Officers running for Minnesota Federal, State, and Local Offices
The races overall are a mix of favored Republicans and Democrats with the Stauber race providing a chance for the GOP to flip a blue seat where nationally the expectation is for momentum to be with the Democratic Party.
Hennepin County Sheriff’s Race
At the local level, incumbent Rick Stanek faces off against Dave “Hutch” Hutchinson, a Sergeant with Metro Transit. Stanek is running for his fourth term as Sheriff of Hennepin County, one of the largest counties in Minnesota. He has been credited for reducing the violent crime rate in the City of Minneapolis and using innovative solutions to deal with patients with mental health issues getting the help they need earning Stanek the endorsement of the Star Tribune, the largest newspaper in the State of Minnesota. Both candidates prioritize combating the opioid crisis, with Stanek having already implemented a program that has officers carrying Narcan to offset opioid symptoms and mapping drug overdoses, while Hutchinson is advocating for partnering deputies with mental health professionals on response calls. Stank has supported policies of the previous president including expanding background checks on gun purchases and the current administration’s policies on cracking down on illegal drug use. Earlier this year in the primary, Stanek received 49% of votes, while Hutchinson received 35%.
Pat Garofolo-Minnesota State House. District 58B
There are a trio of upcoming elections that favor Republican incumbents who have law enforcement histories. In the District 58B, MN State House Representative Pat Garofalo is running to hold office against Marla Vagts, whom Garafolo defeated in 2016 by a 65% to 35% margin. Garofalo, who has a BS in Law Enforcement from Minnesota State University in Mankato, MN, was first elected as State Representative in 2004 and has served the Southeastern part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metro Area since. Garofolo is a champion for the law enforcement community in the Minnesota Legislature authoring twelve pro-public safety bills ranging from roadway safety to school bullying. He has focused on energy policy issues critical to Minnesotans as the chairman of the Jobs, Energy and Housing Committee since 2015 and has been rated 93% by the NRA, and 89%% by the American Conservative Union. Vagts is a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL), as Democrats are known in North Star State and prioritize healthcare, broadband access, and education.
Matt Grossell Minnesota State House District 2A
In District 2A, Matt Grosnell is running to defend his seat representing Northwestern Minnesota against Michael Northbird (DFL). Grosnell who has served both in the military and in law enforcement has emphasized the budget in his time as State Representative, including tax relief and education investment. Grosnell won his least election easily in 2016. He is a retired law enforcement officer who graduated from Itasca Community College with additional training from Hibbing Community College and was the chief author of eight pro-law enforcement bills in his first term in the Minnesota House. Northbird, a civil engineer who has spent the past 9 years as an Environmental Program Manager for Minnesota Chippewa Tribe has prioritized Firearm Safety, Human Rights, and Education.
Brian Johnson Minnesota State House District 32A
Brian Johnson (R) is a three-term member of the Minnesota House representing Northeastern Minnesota. Johnson is a retired law enforcement officer who graduated from Hibbing Community College. In the previous legislative session, Johnson has been the chief author of eleven pro-law enforcement bills including strengthening drunk driving laws and setting the public safety budget for all of Minnesota. Johnson, like Garafolo and Grosnell, won easily in 2016. He is running against Renae Berg (DFL), a former Alcohol and Drug Counselor and church leader who has prioritized Healthcare for all, Education funding, and gun safety legislation.
Pete Stauber, US House Representative District 8
Former Police Lieutenant Pete Stauber’s race to serve Minnesota’s 8th District was covered earlier by the American Police Officers Alliance and with the election less than a week away, it looks possible that Stauber will be able to turn a blue seat red
Stauber’s spent 22 years in law enforcement, serving as the President of the Law Enforcement Labor Services Union, Local 363, was an Area Commander with the Duluth Police Department, and survived multiple crimes involving guns. In one instance, Stauber was wounded while off-duty when he was shot in the head by a criminal in 1995. He returned to service until he retired in 2017.
National Republican organizations are looking to Stauber to buck the anticipated trend of Democrats taking Republican House seats this year, with over $8.6 million in outside spending to support him. As the race nears its end, some polls are showing Stauber with a lead over DFL candidate Joe Radinovich.
Time to vote!
Early voting started in Minnesota on September 21st, and election day is Tuesday, November 6th. If you or your family or friends are affected by any of these races American Police Officers Alliance urges you to participate in the election process and vote for the candidate that represents the best of public service.