Will Stancil, Notable Twitter Pugilist, Announces Run for Political Office In Minnesota

Will Stancil, a man who’s made a name for himself online as a feisty defender of President Joe Biden and Democratic policies, announced Wednesday that he’s running for a seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives. But Stancil says social media platforms like X, formerly known as Twitter, aren’t going to be a very important part of his upstart campaign.

Mr. Tweet Fumbles Super Bowl Tweet

“Well it’s out there now! Yep, I’m running for Minnesota House District 61A. More info very soon. This campaign won’t be conducted on Twitter, but if you like what I’m generally about, or like metro planning and dislike far-right extremism, here you go,” Stancil tweeted on Wednesday with a link to donate to his campaign.

Stancil, who’s doubled his follower count on X in the past year, has become a lightning rod of controversy as a staunch advocate for Biden’s re-election in November. Stancil believes Biden should get more credit for the economy, which has delivered strong growth and low unemployment. And while Stancil is often attacked from the right by bigots and other Trump-aligned malcontents, the 38-year-old also gets flak from the left for insisting many people who are upset about the U.S. economy only feel that way due to distorted media portrayals.

Reached over email late Wednesday, Stancil explained to Gizmodo what he meant by saying his campaign for the Minnesota House won’t be centered around X, the platform that’s gained him an enormous amount of attention in political circles lately.

“I just mean this is a local race, it’s going be decided by talking to neighbors, and I’m going to run it the old-fashioned way by calling people and going to doors,” Stancil wrote.

“Very few votes will be won or lost on social media at this level and my recent Twitter notoriety has essentially no bearing on my decision to run or how I’ll run it. I’ll probably tweet about it a little but if I’m doing it right I should be too busy to pay close attention to social media,” the candidate continued.

Stancil says he wants to focus his campaign on “building urban prosperity with smart housing choices” as well as supporting public education and public educators. The candidate also wants to accelerate the decarbonization of the economy, a goal that likely resonates in liberal-leaning Minneapolis, which has seen an unusually odd winter almost completely devoid of snow.

The Minnesota House District 61A covers an area just south of downtown Minneapolis and is currently represented by Frank Hornstein, a Democrat who was first elected in 2002. Hornstein’s website includes a press release dated February 16 announcing that he won’t be seeking another term in 2024.

“With this week’s start of the legislative session, I have come to the realization that it is time to reorder my life’s priorities and to pass the torch to new leadership after 22 years of legislative service,” Hornstein’s statement reads. It does not provide any details on why he’s choosing not to run.

Stancil plans to launch a campaign website, though he warns he’ll be spending a lot less time on X as he focuses on winning a seat in the next election. But we’ll believe it when we see it. Whatever you think of Stancil’s politics, there’s no denying he’s a born poster. And while posters can certainly resolve to do less posting, they find it extremely difficult to resist the siren song of retweets and little digital hearts.

Stancil’s tweet announcing his run for local office in Minnesota has received roughly 900,000 views at the time of this writing, a number that’s wildly out of proportion for the political job he seeks. And while online engagement doesn’t mean much of anything in the grand scheme of things, Stancil’s popularity online is an interesting thing to witness in an era where capturing attention valued so highly as a goal unto itself.

Minnesota’s own governor, Tim Walz, has recent tweets that have received just 27,000 views, 13,000 views, and 22,000 views respectively. Look out, Walz. If he can pull of a local win in November and establish a name for himself outside of X, Stancil might be eyeing your job next.