Who is Royce White, the basketball star challenging Sen. Amy Klobuchar?

He's railed against the 'Jewish elite' and said women have become 'too mouthy.' Now the one-time college hoops star has the GOP's endorsement to try and flip Minnesota red

US Senate Candidate Royce White
Republican US Senate Candidate Royce White
(Image credit: Andy Lyons / Getty Images for BIG3)

On paper, Royce White seems like an ideal political outsider. He's a charismatic, high-profile public figure with a compelling personal narrative and pre-existing fan base from his time as a professional athlete and broadcaster. In that sense, the Minnesota Republican Party's choice to tap White — a former college basketball star, first-round NBA draft pick, mental health advocate and popular podcast host — as their endorsed candidate to take on Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar is fairly understandable. 

Similarly understandable, however, is the fact that White's endorsement came "qualified, with reservations." White, who unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) in 2022, has long courted the fringes of his party's extreme right wing with inflammatory and often offensive rhetoric about women, Jewish people, the LGBTQ+ community, and others. White has also been accused of owing significant back child support payments, as well as of "outrageous" campaign finance violations by the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, which recently filed a complaint against the candidate with the Federal Elections Commission. 

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Rafi Schwartz, The Week US

Rafi Schwartz has worked as a politics writer at The Week since 2022, where he covers elections, Congress and the White House. He was previously a contributing writer with Mic focusing largely on politics, a senior writer with Splinter News, a staff writer for Fusion's news lab, and the managing editor of Heeb Magazine, a Jewish life and culture publication. Rafi's work has appeared in Rolling Stone, GOOD and The Forward, among others.