face=Arial>There is no Senate race in this state.

Open Seat

Norm Coleman (R)
Open SeatHubert Humphrey III (D)
Open SeatJesse Ventura (Reform)
Race outlookToss up

Just a few short weeks ago, the Minnesota governor's race was lackluster. Democratic Attorney General Hubert "Skip" Humphrey III seemed well positioned to succeed retiring Governor Arne Carlson, and Republican candidate Norm Coleman seemed unable to change that. However the sudden momentum of Jesse "The Body" Ventura has suddenly turned the race that was a snooze into the sleeper hit that every one is watching.

For months the stoy in the Minnesota governor's race was the 'My Three Sons' primary. Progeny of three famous Minnesota political families -- Skip Humphrey, Ted Mondale and Mike Freeman (son of former Governor Orville Freeman) -- were vying for the Democratic nomination for governor. However Humphrey gained a solid lead in the polls far in advance of the September primary, and his win generated little excitement.

Humphrey entered the final six weeks of the campaign as the frontrunner, holding a steady but not insurmountable lead over Coleman, the Mayor of St. Paul and former Democrat. Humphrey has been emphasizing his plan to cut taxes by $1 billion, funded with money from his settlement with the tobacco industry. Coleman's platform is to cut spending and give a tax cut to families.

Then along came Jesse 'The Body' Ventura, radio talk show host, actor and former pro wrestler, who is running on the Reform Party ticket. He had not been actively campaigning, but he started out better known than most third party candidates, and he was polling in the low double-digits.

After he appeared in some debates with Humphrey and Coleman, support for him has doubled. A Minneapolis Star Tribune/KMSP-TV poll, conducted October 15-18 put Ventura at 21 percent with most of his strength coming directly from Humphrey. Ironically, it was the Humphrey camp that insisted Ventura be included in all debates. As a result, Ventura has participated in at least four televised debates, and Coleman and Humphrey are in a virtual dead heat.

Now, the whole dynamic of the race has changed. Ventura has since begun airing radio ads proposing a tax cut, smaller classroom size and stressing that a vote for him is not a "wasted vote."

The Humphrey and Coleman campaigns are frustrated because they do not think Ventura is being held to the same standards that they are; although this may be changing. Ventura has recently come under fire for a comment suggesting he supports the legalization of prostitution. Critics are using the issue to raise the question of whether the rough-around-the edges Ventura has the statesmanship to run Minnesota.

As of October 23, there is only one poll that has shown the rise in Ventura's support at Humphrey's expense. The conventional wisdom is that this race is in a state of flux and it could break either way.

Current Lineup: 8 Districts, 6 Democrats, 2 Republicans

GIL GUTKNECHT (R),Elected in 1994
OpponentTracy Beckman (D),State Senator/Hardware Store Owner (D)
District Profile;Southeast - Rochester: part of Mankato, House 1996: D-47% R-53%


DAVID MINGE (D), Elected in 1992
OpponentsCraig Duehring (R), Retired USAF Colonel/'96 candidate
Stan Bentz (Reform), Perennial candidate
OutlookLikely Democrat
District Profile;Southwest - Willmar, House 1996: D-55% R-41%


JIM RAMSTAD (R),Elected in 1990
OpponentsStan Leino (D),Attorney/PTA Activist/'96 nominee(D)
Derek Schramm (US Taxpayers), Software Engineer/Pro-Life Activist(D)
OutlookSolid Republican
District Profile;Western Twin Cities suburbs - Bloomington; Minnetonka, House 1996 D-30% R-70%


BRUCE VENTO (D), Elected in 1976
OpponentsDennis Newinski (R), Fmr State Rep/'94,'96 nominee
Dan Vacek (Legalize Marijuana Now),Marijuanna Legalization Activist
Michael Neitzel (Libertarian), FedEx Courier/College Student
Heather Wood (Socialist Workers), Steelworker
Carol Schulstad (US Taxpayers), Consultant/Religious Right Activist
OutlookLikely Democrat
District Profile;St. Paul and suburbs, House 1996: 1996 D-57% R-37%


MARTIN OLAV SABO (D), Elected in 1978
OpponentsFrank Taylor (R), Teacher(D)
Jason Kassel (Anti-Federalist)(D)
Kevin Houston (Libertarian), Computer Programmer(D)
Michael Pennock (Socialist Workers), Chemical Worker/Union Activist(D)
OutlookStrong Democrat
District Profile;Minneapolis and suburbs, House 1996 D-64% R-29%


BILL LUTHER (D), Elected 1994
OpponentsJohn Kline (R), Marine Corps Vet/GOP Activist
Eric Johnson (Libertarian), Aircraft Mechanist/Libertarian Activist
OutlookLikely Democrat
District Profile;Eastern, Southern Twin Cities suburbs, House 1996 D-56% R-44%


COLLIN PETERSON (D), Elected 1990
OpponentAleta Edin (R),Farmer/Homemaker
OutlookStrong Democrat
District Profile;Northwest - Moorhead; part of St. Cloud, House 1996 D- 68% R-32%


JAMES OBERSTAR (D), Elected 1974
OpponentsJerry Shuster (R), Logging Contractor/John Birch Soc Member/'88,'90 nominee
Larry Fuhol (Libertarian)Factory Worker/Isanti Town Planning Comm/'96 nominee
Stan "The Man" Estes (Reform) Retired US Postal Worker/'96 nominee
OutlookStrong Democrat
District Profile;Northeast - Iron Range; Duluth, House 1996 D-67% R-25%