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AUSTIN EDITION -- Ventura 'leaning' toward running for re-election

Associated Press

ST. PAUL -- Gov. Jesse Ventura said today he is leaning toward seeking a second term, although he left himself some wiggle room.

"I'm inclined and leaning that way -- stronger every day," Ventura said in an interview with The Associated Press, adding later, "I like the challenge. Another election would be fun. I'd be interested to see who my opponents would be."

There is plenty of time for Ventura to change his mind. He has said repeatedly that he won't announce his intentions until after the Legislature adjourns its session this spring, and possibly withhold his decision until mid-summer.

"Until July when you walk in and pay your money and officially file with the secretary of state, that's when you're a candidate," he said.

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If Ventura runs, his proposal to balance the budget that he released Thursday will surely be an issue. In it, Ventura recommends several tax increases and spending cuts aimed at resolving a $2 billion projected deficit in the current two-year budget.

As a candidate, Ventura pledged to fight any tax increases. But the governor insisted today that he doesn't think he is reneging on that promise in his new proposal.

"I didn't know we were going to be at war," he said.

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