Richard Painter, currently a University of Minnesota law professor, is now reportedly pondering a run for Minnesota Attorney General on the Forward Party line. Since 2016, he has served as vice-chair of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a government watchdog group.
Painter tells Axios Twin Cities that he sees a “very wide lane in the middle” for an attorney general that would be tough on crime, but also willing to stand up to police unions without using unpopular “defund the police” rhetoric.
He also confirmed that he recently had a long discussion with Andrew Yang and feels “aligned” with the newly organized Forward Party on many issues.
Late last year, Painter began to float the idea of mounting an independent run for governor of Minnesota with something of a focus on environmental policy.
“The campaign for me is worth it if we have some serious discussions about clean water, clean politics,” Painter told MinnPost of a possible gubernatorial bid. “I don’t want to get in there just to make a lot of noise.”
Always something of a centrist, Painter was chair of Harvard Students for Walter Mondale in 1984 and ultimately went on to work as a legal counsel to the Bush administration from 2005 to 2007. A fierce and vocal critic of former president Donald Trump, he left the GOP several years ago and made an unsuccessful primary bid for U.S. Senate as a Democrat in 2018.