Physician and former Republican legislator Scott Jensen will run for governor in next year’s election, with an official announcement likely next week.
The 66-year-old, who retired in January after one term in the Minnesota Senate, gained national recognition for his contrarian views on the COVID-19 pandemic. As a family doctor, many in the media took his skepticism seriously. Since leaving politics, Jensen continued his criticism, with several online videos that have aired at Alpha News.
“Over the past year, Scott has gained national attention for his criticism of the CDC’s guidelines on the classification of coronavirus deaths due to inflated numbers,” a release about his gubernatorial campaign said in part. “He has been and will continue to search for truth and expose the facts surrounding COVID-19 and the measures Gov. Walz has implemented. He will elevate thoughtful discourse, engage in difficult conversations, and will not allow pandering groupthink to impede the vital contributions science can provide.”
The DFL immediately pounced, with slander and ad hominem exaggerations.
“Scott Jensen is a dangerous COVID-19 conspiracy theorist who has been caught spreading lies about the pandemic, palling around with anti-vaccine extremists, and downplaying the virus that has taken over half a million American lives,” DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin said.
Far from a radical, Jensen was known for his moderate views and independent nature during his lone term in St. Paul. He helped set up an emergency insulin program, signed his name to a bill legalizing cannabis for adults, and joined DFL colleagues on gun control proposals.
The lifelong Minnesotan has worked as a family physician for two decades at Catalyst Medical Clinic, which he founded.
Jensen’s announcement makes him the first major candidate to challenge first-term Gov. Tim Walz.
The Chaska resident and other Republicans undoubtedly will focus on Walz’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, including statewide shutdowns, nursing home scandals, the continuous extension of emergency powers, haphazard school reopenings, and reluctance to fully reopen the economy when even the Pioneer Press reported Tuesday “hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 have plummeted to levels not seen since spring 2020.”
“Scott is excited to embark on this journey and looks forward to meeting with his fellow Minnesotans across the state and restoring their hope and freedom,” the press release concluded.