Posted on May 31, 2024

Minnesota GOP’s Endorsed Senate Candidate Has Faced Court Actions Over Unpaid Child Support

Allan Smith, NBC, May 30, 2024

Royce White, a George Floyd protest leader and former college basketball star-turned-right-wing Senate candidate in Minnesota, was ordered to catch up after he fell behind on court-mandated child support payments at least a half-dozen times from 2020 to 2023, court filings in two cases show.

White, a father of four, was twice found in contempt of court over the findings, one of them in a Minnesota county where he remains in “constructive contempt,” facing the ongoing threat of a 180-day jail sentence should he again fail to keep up with the payments. The next hearing in that case is set for Oct. 21, two weeks before the election.

White’s candidacy has generated new attention after the Minnesota Republican Party endorsed him this month at its state convention, where he won the support of two-thirds of the voting delegates. He previously lost a GOP primary in a 2022 effort to unseat Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar and has raised a paltry sum for his Senate campaign, according to campaign finance records. But he has caught fire with conservatives by delivering rousing speeches and aiming incendiary, vulgar commentary at critics and opponents online.

White still must survive a contested GOP primary, but the state party has elevated him as former President Donald Trump and his campaign make noise about flipping Minnesota red at the presidential level this fall for the first time since 1972. It has been more than 20 years since a Republican won a Senate seat in the state. And a number of GOP strategists do not think White gets them any closer to beating Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar in November.


In Ramsey County, Minnesota, a court found White in contempt in 2018 after he failed to keep up with his payments, according to court filings. After it increased his monthly child support payments from $350 to $794 because of his contract with Big3 Basketball, the court said he was failing to keep up with payments in 2020, 2021 and 2022, the filings show. He was ordered to pay more than $17,000 during those three years to avoid jail time. The court found him to be in compliance with his payments in February 2023 and lowered the monthly amount he owed.

In a separate case in Cottonwood County, Minnesota, a court placed White in contempt in 2020 after he failed to comply with his child support order, according to court records there. The court found him to be behind on his child support payments in both 2022 and 2023 and ordered him to make larger lump-sum payments within weeks of his hearings in both years. Ahead of a hearing last month, the court said White had fulfilled the conditions of his contempt agreement and paid his required support. But it also ruled that he needed to create a structured payment plan with it to address all of his child support obligations by July 1.


White’s political rise and evolution are a story of its own. A basketball star at Iowa State University and a first-round selection of the Houston Rockets in 2012, he battled mental health struggles and drew positive attention for his efforts to get the NBA to take mental health more seriously. He ended up playing just three games in the league.

With George Floyd’s killing at the hands of Minneapolis police in 2020, White led some Black Lives Matter protests in his home state and became a central figure in the protests there. He appeared on MSNBC’s prime-time lineup to discuss issues at the heart of the movement.

An appearance on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC program caught the eye of Steve Bannon, the former Trump White House official and right-wing media personality who is influential in the MAGA movement. Bannon later took interest in the fact that White led protests against the Federal Reserve in Minneapolis, and an intermediary who knew both men — and learned that White was a fan of Bannon’s show — connected them.

“He’s got rough edges,” Bannon, one of White’s most prominent boosters, said in an interview. “He’s got some opinions I obviously don’t agree with, but he’s a patriot. He’s a leader, a warrior. He’s a rising star in the MAGA movement.”