First openly gay sheriff in the Midwest elected in Hennepin County

“Most important is how we’re treating immigrants. We’re going to change how we treat them."

Edgar Linares
November 07, 2018 - 7:08 pm

By Edgar Linares

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As of Wednesday, 2,340 votes separate incumbent Sheriff Rich Stanek and challenger Sergeant Dave “Hutch” Hutchinson for the title of Hennepin County Sheriff.

Sheriff-elect Hutch claimed the victory, even though Stanek’s campaign released a statement saying the race was “too close to call.” On Hutch’s Facebook page, he thanked his supporters.

VOTES (As of 11/7/2018)
Dave Hutchinson 264,521
Rich Stanek 262,181

“It was a long night and an even longer campaign, but with 100 percent of precincts reporting, I’m proud to say that we won our race for Hennepin County Sheriff. Everyone who wins a race says “we couldn’t have done it without our supporters,” but in all sincerity, we couldn’t have.”

Hutchinson, 39, campaigned on what he called comprehensive reform in Hennepin County’s law enforcement. He told reporters he’ll continue Stanek’s work on the opioid crisis but funnel people to treatment options. He also wants to address the connection between arrests and mental health, and focus on immigrant rights. He says he’ll stop the practice of informing federal immigration officials (ICE) when a foreign-born person is booked into jail.

“Most important is how we’re treating immigrants,” said the Sheriff-elect at Minneapolis City Hall on Wednesday. “We’re going to change how we treat them and make sure every single immigrant, regardless of their status, is not too scared to come talk to us.”

On Wednesday, Hutch and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey had a meet and greet.

“It’ll be a pleasure and an honor to work with Sheriff-elect Hutch. We were surprised to say the least, but I know the sheriff will make a wonderful partner,” said Mayor Frey.

Sheriff Rich Stanek is not conceding the results just yet. A statement from his campaign says Stanek will not comment on the outcome until the Hennepin County Canvassing Board meets next Tuesday to certify the results.

If Hutchinson is declared the official winner, he’ll be the first openly-gay sheriff in the Midwest.