MN Scientist, Entrepreneur Hugh McTavish Cites COVID Shutdowns in Governor Bid
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota scientist and entrepreneur Hugh McTavish announced his bid for governor as a third-party candidate on Thursday, citing division in state government and what he called poor handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
McTavish, an author and inventor, founded pharmaceutical companies Squarex and IGF Oncology, which are developing a topical drug that aims to prevent cold sores and a targeted cancer treatment drug, respectively. He is running as the candidate for the Independence-Alliance Party — the same party of former wrestler Jesse Ventura, who pulled of a historic upset of Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Skip Humphrey in the 1998 race for governor.
“In today’s elections, candidates seek to win by dividing us and appealing to anger and fear, and then after winning they impose their policies on us and those policies are chosen by the money interests that funded their campaign,” he told reporters during a news conference. “Not me. I am running to unite us, not to divide us, and after winning I will have all of us, the people, choose our policies.”
McTavish said that as governor, he would implement a system resembling jury duty in which 1,000 randomly selected Minnesotans would be chosen to decide whether to sign or veto bills sent to his desk from the Legislature and to make regulatory decisions. He decried shutdowns imposed by Democratic Gov. Tim Walz to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 during the pandemic, saying they did more to harm people’s mental health and children’s education than to promote public health and safety.
McTavish authored a book titled “COVID Lockdown Insanity,” in which he says shutdowns resulted in major depression in tens of millions of Americans and mask wearing had a negligible effect in preventing virus cases and deaths, among other claims.
He joins former broadcaster Cory Hepola as a third-party candidate who could be a spoiler for Walz or the eventual Republican nominee in the gubernatorial race this November.
The Independence-Alliance Party does not have major party status, so its candidates must gather 2,000 signatures by individuals who attest they won’t vote in a major-party primary. McTavish said he’s a co-plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the ballot access process, calling it a burden.
Mohamed Ibrahim is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.