Tags: Minnesota | Musings

Minnesota Musings

Tuesday, 05 November 2002 12:00 AM

Minnesota has not had so much attention since former Navy SEAL and pro wrestler Jesse Ventura won the governorship as Reform Party candidate in 1998.

The death of Paul Wellstone in a plane crash Oct. 25, followed by a memorial service turned into a raucous political rally, threw Minnesota politics and voters into a tizzy. The crowd that gathered to eulogize Wellstone one week before the election was treated to the spectacle of Republican well-wishers being booed and Vice President Dick Cheney being dis-invited from the service.

The crowd's negative response extended to Independent Governor Ventura and his wife as well. This in turn angered Ventura, who appointed an Independent Party member as interim senator. Independent Dean Barkley will fill Wellstone's Senate seat, possibly until Congress reconvenes in January.

The ugly turn of events at the memorial service changed the course of the Minnesota election. Until that event, the Senate race was viewed as a cakewalk for Democrat and former Vice President Walter Mondale. The impact of the rally is being felt across the state.

Observers of the Minnesota political scene perceived it as an insult to conservatives, to Republicans and to the political process. Republicans who might otherwise have stayed home have been energized.

Walter Mondale held an 8-point lead shortly after Wellstone's death. That lead has narrowed to a statistical tie.

As of noon Nov. 5, voter turnout in Minnesota is at record levels across the state and lines are standard. Votes for the U.S. Senate are being hand counted, which means the nation may not know the identity of the new senator from Minnesota until some time on Wednesday. The outcome of the election could hinge on a handful of recast absentee ballots. Court challenges are in the offing if the election is close and in Republican Coleman's favor.

At this moment, the Minnesota election is a toss-up. Given the sympathy vote for Wellstone through his stand-in, Mondale, the outcome of the election should not have been close.

In the race for governor, it is expected that Republican Tim Pawlenty will beat Democrat Roger Moe and the Independent Party's Tim Penny by 4 to 5 percentage points.

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Minnesota has not had so much attention since former Navy SEAL and pro wrestler Jesse Ventura won the governorship as Reform Party candidate in 1998. The death of Paul Wellstone in a plane crash Oct. 25, followed by a memorial service turned into a raucous political...
Minnesota,Musings
360
2002-00-05
Tuesday, 05 November 2002 12:00 AM
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