Coleman dismisses notion of challenge by Ventura

Associated Press

ST. PAUL — Republican Norm Coleman is discounting the possibility of Jesse Ventura entering the race for U.S. Senate, as the former third-party Minnesota governor has suggested during his book tour.

During a Minnesota Public Radio call-in show Friday, Coleman blew off the notion Ventura would take him on. Coleman said Ventura is merely trying to sell books.

He said Minnesota voters would look at a Ventura candidacy differently this time around.

"We’ve seen that movie," he said. "I do not think the box office for the sequel would be very large."


Ventura beat Coleman and a Democratic candidate in 1998 en route to the governor’s office. Coleman won his Senate seat in 2002, the last year of Ventura’s rocky term as governor.

In his own MPR appearance this week, Democratic front-runner Al Franken also dismissed a Ventura bid as a book-promotion ploy.

Ventura said last month that "you never say never" about an independent Senate campaign.

Coleman’s hourlong appearance on MPR covered his well-documented stances on issues from the Iraq war to oil drilling in Alaska. The senator also:

  • Said he doesn’t see a boycott of this summer’s Olympics in Beijing as an effective way to pressure China to change its human rights record in Tibet.
  • Disagreed with Franken’s proposal to roll back past income tax cuts for top earners. Still, Coleman refused to take a hard line on the tax issue. "I’m not going to make a pledge to no taxes," he said.
  • Invited presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain to join him on the campaign trail. Asked whether he’d want President Bush to travel to Minnesota on his behalf, Coleman demurred. "I don’t think he’s going to be out campaigning for me," Coleman said, adding that he’d be "thrilled" if Bush raised money for him.
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